And while I’m on the topic of consuming less sugar . . .
The first time I put buttermilk into muffins, I was on Cape Cod with my sister, folding highbush blueberries we’d picked together at Coonamessett Farm into the Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins from Mollie Katzen’s Sunlight Cafe. I have her kid writing to prove it: scrawled there at the top of the page is “Allison 2004. Used lemon zest also.”
Since then, it’s been hard for me to imagine good muffins without some sort of tang, whether from buttermilk or yogurt or sour cream, and I have a hard time mixing any muffin batter without at least opening Sunlight Cafe to peruse her extensive muffin recipe section.
Here’s a much fussed-over version of a recipe I wrote for Cape Cod Magazine in 2005. Back then, they were Blueberry Bran Muffins, made with Mollie’s buttermilk and all the bran jazz but no whole wheat anything. A few episodes later, after tinkering with using olive oil and canola oil, buttermilk and whole milk, millet flour and oat flour and regular flour and whole oats, I think this oaty version, made with nonfat yogurt but with real butter, is the best one yet.
“Out of the ballpark,” said my neighbor.
Recipe for Raspberry Bran Muffins
Recipe 151 of 365
Inspired by a recipe for Buttermilk Bran Muffins in Mollie Katzen’s all-encompassing breakfast cookbook, Sunlight Café, these muffins combine whole wheat flour, oatmeal, oat bran, and oat bran flakes for a sweetness you might not associate with wholesome grains. Cooled muffins can be frozen for up to 3 weeks.
TIME: 20 minutes
MAKES: about 15 muffins
Vegetable oil spray
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups oat or wheat bran
1 cup whole oats
2 cups wheat, oat, or multigrain bran flakes cereal
2 cups plain lowfat or nonfat yogurt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 15 standard muffin cups with the vegetable oil spray.
Whisk the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and brown sugar together in a large bowl, using your fingers to break up any clumps of sugar. Add the bran, oats, and cereal and stir until the mixture is thoroughly blended.
In another bowl, whisk the yogurt, eggs, and vanilla together until well blended. Pour this mixture, along with the melted butter, into the dry ingredients. Mix until all the ingredients are just moistened. Gently fold in the raspberries. Fill the muffin cups with batter up to the top, about 1/2 cup batter per muffin.
Bake muffins on the middle rack for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks and cool for about 10 minutes before eating, or cool completely and store in an airtight container, up to 3 days.
Note: You can also sprinkle the muffins with turbinado (raw cane) sugar just before baking, for a sparkly look and slightly crunchy topping.