Chunky Banana Bran Muffins

I don’t eat oatmeal. Cereal takes too much work, with the milk, spills, etc., and when I run out—when there’s not enough milk for the cereal and the morning is ruined—I can’t help thinking cereal is not worth my time. Pancakes? Forgetaboutit—maybe if I were my little sister, who weighes 100 pounds and can eat Big Macs all day long. Eggs are nice, but seem like a weekend thing—I need to sit around for an hour reading the New York Times and slowly sipping coffee when I have eggs.

I badly needed a quick and easy, dependable breakfast when I stumbled onto the chunky banana bran muffins in Barefoot Contessa at Home. I’d seen this recipe before, passing it by thinking, carbophobically, I can’t eat muffins for breakfast. This time around, though, they looked too delicious (and I worked out 3 days that week), so I pounced.

Happily, these muffins are hardly the gargantuan mega-muffs of the many breakfast cafes today. Small and subtly sweet, the muffins contain a mere 1/2 cup brown sugar and 3/4 dark molasses between the 24 of ’em. The first bite actually seemed undersweetened—until I took a second taste and realized that these muffins were exactly what I had been searching for. Now my ritual: I have a muffin each morning with a cup of black, unsweetened coffee (oh the simplicity!), and they freeze so well that you can make double batches. I hope to make a few batches this weekend—maybe adding some dried apricots, or maybe some blueberries, hmm, maybe strawberries, mmmm….

Chunky Banana Bran Muffins

Time: Prep 30 min, Bake 20-30

Details: Preheat to 350°

  • 2 cups unprocessed wheat bran
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 light brown sugar
  • 4 extra large eggs, at room temp
  • 3/4 cup unsulfured molasses
  • zest of one small orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 2 cups (2 med-large) largely diced bananas
  1. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Combine bran and buttermilk and set aside for now.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl, I don’t have an electric mixer* and I find this recipe works fine if you (mostly) melt the butter in the microwave before adding it to the sugar and then whisk briskly until light. I employed my boyfriend to do this and I suggest you find someone with large arm muscles.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, whisking in between. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and then add the orange zest, molasses and vanilla. mix in the bran-buttermilk mixture and fold a few times.
  5. Sift the flour, salt, baking soda, and powder. I don’t have a sifter either so I used a fine-mesh sieve and shook.
  6. Slowly mix the flour into your batter. Don’t over mix (though you don’t really have to worry much about that when going by hand). Fold in the raisins, bananas, or whatever else you desire to add in!
  7. Fill muffin cups to brim and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. I have an eletric oven, and then were without-a-doubt done at 20 minutes.
  8. Cool on wire rack. If freezing, wrap each individually in saran wrap and then place in tupperware to freezer-proof.

*If you do have an electric mixer, buy the book for the recipe! : )