when i was growing up, my mother used to get up early to bake fresh bran muffins every morning for myself and my sister. i know – odd woman; i doubt my own kids will be so lucky. the smell of the warm muffins, fresh out of the oven and oozing with melted butter was a mainstay in our house.
try as i might, i cannot recreate the same little morsels of delicious, surprisingly healthy breakfast treats for the life of me. mine taste like cardboard. instead, i’ve borrowed a few ingredients from mum’s recipe, and with a little inspiration from ina garten and gwyneth paltrow, i came up with these little wonders of my own.
these muffins are bursting with flavour thanks to the apples, sultanas and the crunchy crumb topping. obviously the extra brown sugar content in the crumb lessens the health factor, so feel free to leave your muffins naked on top, but i borrowed that idea from gwyneth paltrow’s cook book, and let’s face it – if it’s alright by holier-than-thou gwynnie, it’s alright by me.
for the muffins:
- 350g self-raising flour
- 1/2 tsp bi-carb soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup of unprocessed bran
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten (room temperature)
- 280ml buttermilk
- 100g butter (room temperature)
- 150g light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup of molasses
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 1 large apple
- 3/4 cup sultanas
for the crumb topping:
- 4 tbsp light brown sugar
- 4 tbsp unprocessed bran
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
pre-heat the oven to 175c/350f and line a 12-hole muffin tray with paper cups or deli-style brown parchment. steep the sultanas in a cup of warm water and set aside. dice the apple, toss in a bowl with the cornflour and set aside. combine the bran and buttermilk, and (you guessed it!) set aside. hopefully after all this setting aside, there is still room on your bench to make the rest of the muffins.
in an electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy before adding the eggs one at a time, followed by the molasses and the buttermilk-bran mixture. in a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, bi-carb soda and cinnamon. slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ones with the mixer on the lowest setting, and mix until just combined. finally, drain the sultanas and fold them in to the mixture along with the diced apples.
distribute the batter into the lined muffin tray with an ice cream scoop. to make the crumb topping, combine the bran, sugar, cinnamon and vegetable oil in a bowl with your fingers so it has a wet sand texture. sprinkle over the top of the muffins and place in the middle tray of the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes.
cool a little in the tray before removing and devouring with a cup of tea. just try to prevent yourself from popping back into the kitchen to sneak one for elevenses, afternoon tea and a pre-dinner snack.