Thursday, June 20, 2013

Agave Bran Muffins with Raisins

I like healthy muffins, but I don't want them to taste like healthy muffins. Luckily, it's fairly easy to find good-for-you recipes that aren't rubbery or dry. For this agave-sweetened bran version, I tweaked a good, classic recipe from the blog, The Moveable Feast. It's quick to make, even though the mixing directions are slightly unorthodox; the crumb is light and soft, and the flavor is sweet but virtuous.

The original recipe calls for honey, but I used agave because it's estimated to be about 25% sweeter than honey or sugar for the same number of calories. The idea was to keep calories under control, while keeping the muffin sweet enough to actually be enjoyable (Cut sugar too much, and you'll just be sad, believe me.). You can certainly use honey, but I would add an extra 2 tbsp to be on the safe side.

Another thing to note is that this bran muffin contains no molasses, a typical ingredient in classic or traditional versions. Before I came to the recipe here, I made a similar recipe with molasses (not blackstrap--bake with that stuff at your peril), and discovered it was not the flavor I was looking for. The funny thing is that I love molasses cookies. Then I realized that the bran muffin I wanted to duplicate was the one they used to sell at Dunkin' Donuts (it's not on their website; tragically discontinued, I guess), which was plenty sweet and tasted a lot more of honey than molasses.

At least that's what I remember. The last time I ate one was probably 10 years ago! That's fine because I'm happier with my homemade version. Tell me, are you a bran muffin fan or could you not care less?

Agave Bran Muffins with Raisins
Adapted from The Moveable Feast 
These healthy muffins have about 200 calories and 5 g of fiber each, yet they’re moist, soft and pleasantly sweet.

Makes 11 (You could easily make them a bit smaller and get 12.)

1 cup wheat bran (68 g)
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
1 large egg
1/3 cup safflower or canola oil
1/2 cup agave nectar (175 g)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup white whole wheat flour (120 g)
1 tsp  baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup raisins (130 g)
Turbinado or other coarse sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin tin with 11 paper liners and mist the surface of the tin with cooking spray to prevent muffin tops from sticking (optional).

In a medium bowl, stir together the bran, buttermilk and baking soda; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the egg, oil, agave and vanilla until combined. Add to bran mixture and stir until combined; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to bran mixture and stir until no white streaks remain, taking care not to overmix. Fold in the raisins.

Add to muffin tin, filling cups nearly to the top. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake until edges are golden and a toothpick comes out with a crumb or two (not wet batter, obviously), or comes out clean, 22 to 24 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. These freeze great; defrost at room temp.


paperwritings said...

Excelent recipe. Like this one. It looks tasty.

Holiday Paintings Guy said...

I know what you mean about you not wanting them to taste like healthy muffin, you just want the self satisfaction of being able to say you're eating healthily with the great taste included, and I'm sure this fits the bill!