September 29, 2014

Wholesome Raisin Bran Muffins

When ShopRite sent me a package of their line of individual organic raisin boxes to report on, I was happy to have a quick snack around for tucking into lunch bags for the day along with some nuts, but also armed with a forthcoming incentive to bake up a batch of my favorite bran muffins to share with you, so I emptied a few boxes of the raisins into a storage container in my pantry and pulled it out today to make a fresh batch.  I had shared these last early fall on my blog.


Barely tweaked from Chef Greg Atkinson via the Seattle Times, they are quick, healthy, ideal for freezing in preparation for hectic work and school mornings, and also happen to be dairy and lactose-free, because of their secret ingredient: a quick raisin puree.  Raisins are great for baking add-ins whole as they are, but sometimes they can get lost in muffin batter.


Here the pureeing of them does something interesting: it adds to the sweetness and requisite moisture and liquid to otherwise quite healthy muffins with a larger bran to flour ratio, and also creates a chunk-free batter, which I think makes for better texture (no slicing into a raisin that inevitably ends up dislodged from the muffin). One more trade secret is to lightly toast the bran before beginning the recipe, just as you would nuts. It’s an extra step by all means optional, but it makes them that much better. You’ll know when to pull the tray of toasting bran when you can smell the hearty, toasty wheat. Every time I make these muffins, I feel like I live in a bakery. The hard part is wrapping them in plastic for storage. I hope you give them a try, too!


Raisin Bran Muffins

Notes: my food processor is small, so I usually make a half batch of these at a time. If dealing with half-eggs is a hassle, make the whole recipe as written below!  More for you 🙂  If your processor is small, though, take my advice and do a half dozen.  My changes from the original are the cinnamon and orange spices as I love the warmth they give. I also used an organic grapeseed oil.


1 cup ShopRite organic raisins

1 cup water

1/2 cup canola or grapeseed oil

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 tsp / pinch fresh grated orange zest

1 egg

1  cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups miller’s wheat bran (I use Bob’s Red Mill, available at ShopRite)


1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and butter a muffin tin. While the oven heats, pour the measured bran onto a baking sheet and set in the oven for just 5 minutes, until you smell a light fragrance and get a light toasting. Pour into a bowl to cool.

2. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine  raisins and water. When water begins to boil, reduce heat to low, let raisins simmer until they are plumped and soft, 5 minutes. Let cool a few minutes. Transfer raisins and their cooking liquid to the work bowl of a food processor (blender could work too). Process until the mixture becomes a rough purée. One at a time, blend in the oil, the sugar, the molasses and the egg and orange zest.

3. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, then stir in the wheat bran. Add the raisin mixture at once to the dry mixture and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix.

4. Distribute  batter evenly in the tins and bake until the muffins are browned on top, just starting to crack, and springy to the touch, about 20 minutes.

5. Cool the muffins on a rack for at least 10 minutes. Store a day at room temp wrapped or freeze.


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