Old-Fashioned, Old-Size Bran Muffins with Pear ApplesauceOK, I'll admit, one thing I'm not very good at is eating a healthy breakfast. So I decided to make these old-fashioned muffins using All-Bran, just like Mom and Grandma did. And my muffin tin is the same size as theirs, rather than the mutant giant-size muffins of today. So as you can see, one recipe makes 12 muffins, rather than, say, four. Pop them into freezer bags. Even at two at a time, that's breakfast for five days. Do you think I got the math wrong? Nope, two went to quality control.
Preheat oven to 400 and lightly grease a 12-muffin tin
In a big bowl, mix:
1 cup of whole bran cereal -- I used "original" All-Bran
1/4 cup milk
1 cup pear-applesauce or applesauce, preferably unsweetened or sweetened only with fruit juice (see below)
You want to let that mixture sit for a few minutes while the cereal absorbs the moisture.
Meanwhile, in a smaller bowl, cream together:
1/4 cup of room-temperature shortening or butter
1/4 cup sugar (Reduce this slightly if the applesauce you are using is sweetened). I use my "vanilla sugar," which is regular sugar that sits in a canister with some vanilla beans.
And to that mixture add
1 Tablespoon honey (This helps the muffins get a crunchy top crust. You could leave it out, but I'd rather reduce the sugar a bit.)
Stir that into the cereal mixture
Now, mix together (sifting is what the cookbooks all say at this point, but you can use a wire whisk and mix them in a bowl just fine)
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg -- freshly grated if you can
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and stir just until combined. If you stir too much, you'll have more gluten, which means tough, dry muffins. Yuck.
Spoon this into the muffin tins. Each "cup" will be about 2/3 full. Always a good idea to put some in each one first, then go back and add if there's still batter left.
Bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes. Check at 25, for sure. If a toothpick comes out clean, they're done.
While still hot, sprinkle the tops with a little sugar, if you want to.
I have not personally done this, but if you have tins that make bigger muffins, say 6 or 4, I would add a little more baking soda to help the bigger amount of dense batter rise, then cook them at 350 for longer, probably 35 minutes or so. I'd start checking at 30 minutes, though. (At 400, the outside would literally be toast before the inside was cooked.)