We Americans love our morning coffee break, and in particular the snacks. Whole fast-food industries have been built upon this staple of the American life, which was first introduced as a recruitment tool by the Barcola Manufacturing Company of New York in 1902. So in true patriotic style, when a group of folks congregated for a Saturday cleanup day, my contribution to the effort was a basket of warm- from- the oven Maple Bran Muffins.
My health-conscious heart sank when I arrived at church and saw the bright, orange-pink box of tempting donut holes all ready sitting on the kitchen counter. Rather than return the muffins to my car, I decided this was the perfect time for a bit of culinary health research.
All morning, as folks stopped by the kitchen, fueling up for washing windows, filling driveway potholes and planting flowers, they asked about the muffins. What was the variety, how were they made, what ingredient gave them the sweet taste, will you share the recipe?
As the muffin count diminished, the picture-pretty full box of donuts looked a little fake and quite forlorn.
In my community health career, I have always maintained that if people are provided with healthy food options (like real food), their eating pleasure will lead them to make better choices. This holds true for both children and more mature palates. Sensory research has shown that it often takes humans 20 tastes before developing a liking for certain foods. The irony here is that by restricting the choices we offer our children (think children’s menus) we are actually stunting the development of their taste buds, and limiting their life-long joy from eating.
My joy in life comes from eating good, healthy food. And in this case, the research indicates that over donut holes, Maple Bran Muffins were the clear winner!
Maple Bran Muffins
- 1½ cups bran cereal
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 4 tablespoons melted butter or oil
- ½ cup dried blueberries (any dried fruit will work cranberries, raisins, etc.)
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
- In a large bowl, soak the bran cereal in the buttermilk, until soft, about 10 minutes. Beat in the egg, maple syrup and melted butter or oil. Stir in the dried fruit. Whisk together the dry ingredients, and then stir into the bran mixture. Be careful not to over mix.
- Scoop the batter into the greased muffin tin and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 18 - 20 minutes. Let rest in pan for 5 minutes, and then serve. Makes 12 muffins.