2 cups wheat bran
1 cup dark raisins
1 cup, plus 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk or plain yogurt
Zest of half an orange
1/4-1/3 cup brown sugar, depending on how sweet you like your muffins
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Makes 12 muffins.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
2. Spread the wheat bran evenly on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for six to eight minutes, stirring a few times to ensure the bran cooks evenly. Allow to cool completely. While the bran is toasting, heat the raisins with 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the raisins have absorbed all the water. Puree the plumped raisins in a small food processor until smooth.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the cooled bran, buttermilk or yogurt, and additional one cup water. Mix in the raisin puree, orange zest, and brown sugar. Once these ingredients are thoroughly combined, add the oil, egg, and egg white. Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt directly into the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. At this moment, you may add an additional 1/2 cup raisins or other dried fruit of your preference into the batter.
4. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, making sure the batter is mounded slightly on each one. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the muffins feel set in the center.
Since I started my blog two years ago, I have become a better baker, traveled to new, exciting destinations, and gained experience as a writer. While I am pleased by how this site has grown from the day I first launched, I still grappled, until recently, with one crucial aspect of blogging: photography. I felt as though the camera controlled me, its various buttons and features overwhelming me every time I attempted to snap a shot. That was until I attended my first natural light food photography workshop, taught by Christina Peters and Amy Paliwoda of MDR Photography in Los Angeles.
The seven-hour course covered the fundamentals of photography and food styling, everything from white balance and aperture to product placement and color stories. I learned invaluable information about my camera and how to manipulate technical settings and light in order to achieve the ideal shot. It was also a pleasure to interact with the other bloggers and foodies who participated in the class. I left the studio with newfound knowledge and confidence in my photography abilities and the contact information of some of the lovely people I met.
Now, let’s talk muffins. I bookmarked this recipe a while ago then promptly shifted my attention to more vibrant items in my queue. However, when my mom requested a good bran muffin last week, I knew exactly where to turn. These bran muffins are lighter and airier than any other version I have tried. There is plenty of hearty bran flavor packed into each bite and the raisin puree provides a tone of earthy sweetness without adding sugar. Paired with some fresh fruit and yogurt, this is a breakfast pastry you can feel good about. It allows you to start your day energized and satisfied, unlike the guilt you endure after indulging in a buttery cheese danish. These bran muffins have definitely claimed a spot in my prestigious list of go-to recipes, holding their own among NY Times chocolate chunk cookies and French macarons.