Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Miniature Raisin Bran Muffins...

We went back and forth trying to pick out what we would make for the first Wednesday Treat Day of 2010. I had tossed out a few ideas like a fun cake, peanut butter bar cookies or brownies, but Jeff thought it would probably be a better idea to go a little lighter, at least for the first round. He's probably right (oh and I'm sure I'll hear about that for awhile...), so we decided muffins would be a good compromise.

Muffins... got it, but what kind? Since we were looking for a lighter take, we thought raisins, whole-wheat pastry flour and a little bran thrown in for good measure would get us going in the right direction. Using those ingredients as a base, we were led to these Miniature Raisin Bran Muffins!

To take the edge off the sharp bran and hefty old-fashioned rolled oats these called for, they were combined with the wet ingredients and left to sit for 15 minutes. Not only does this give those two a chance to soften, but it allows some of the liquid to be absorbed so the batter isn't too thin to support the raisins. Often one would just use granulated sugar to sweeten the muffin batter - but these call for a scoop of brown sugar, which lends moisture and richness, while a drizzle of molasses brings a brawny, complex background. Not only does that make them more interesting, but I loved how it stained the muffins with a wonderful dark color.

With a combination of all-purpose flour, whole-wheat pastry flour, baking powder and a sprinkling of cinnamon standing in as the dry ingredients, they were combined with the thickened wet base to form the batter. We then folded in a handful of golden raisins, but regular dark raisins would work fine. When you go to fill the miniature muffin tin, go almost to the top of the rim - I just used a small cookie scoop which sped the process up quickly. For a less messy process, you could also pour the batter into a zip-loc bag, snip off the end and squeeze a bit of the batter into each well.

Being miniature, these muffins bake in a flash - less than 10 minutes, so don't stray too far once they go into the oven. As soon as you pull them out, let them sit for just a minute or two, then quickly (but carefully as they are hot!), turn the muffins out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. If you let them sit in the pan to cool, you'll have two problems - they will tend to stick to the pan and the muffins will steam as they sit, making for a tough crust. These one or two-bite treats were moist with a wheat-y heartiness to them that was fitting and pleasant without being overwhelming. The raisins were a nice touch, adding a bit of texture to the crumb, while also lending another dimension of sweetness. If you don't have a mini baking tin or just enjoy larger muffins, divvy the batter into a standard 12-cup tin and bake them for a few extra minutes.


  1. Not only do they sound YUM! but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the stand! Ahem! Deets on where you found that diddy.

  2. Here's another question. Can oat bran be sub for wheat bran? I have both in my pantry, but it seems like oat bran is heavier in weight than wheat bran.

  3. MaryBeth - It's just a candle stand we picked up in Phoenix!

    Anon - I would try it, but I've only made the recipe with wheat bran.

  4. LOL! I was going to ask about the stand, too - it's perfect!

    These look delicious - I'll have to add them to my upcoming baking list =)

  5. MMMMMMMMM,...just so tempting & good for yoy too,...