Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cake of the Week: Cherry Vanilla Bran Muffins

Remember that beautiful smoothie I made last week? Well, you may recall that there was a muffin involved - in the interest of making that "part of a complete breakfast." (Sidenote: Mini-Mollie always wondered what the heck "complete breakfast" meant in all the cereal commercials...was that just me?) 
Anywho, you all know that I love breakfast. And I love baked goods (obviously). So a+b=c, I LOVE muffins! Homemade muffins are essentially healthy cake. If I tell people that I ate a piece of cake for breakfast (which may or may not happen on occasion), they get all shocked and judgey on me. But a muffin for breakfast? Totally acceptable. 
And these little guys are the perfect accompaniment to your usual yogurt or smoothie or apple

I was inspired by the gi-normous bag of fresh juicy cherries I bought last week. And I've been in the healthy muffin mood recently...so the decision was really quite easy. The original recipe called for dark chocolate and dried cherries...which is normally totally up my alley. But if fresh cherries are an option you just have to use them, and for some reason white chocolate struck me as a good idea. So I planned them out mid-yoga, and Cherry Vanilla Bran Muffins were born. 
The original recipe is adapted from An Edible Mosaic. My changes, per usual, are highlighted in blue.

Cherry Vanilla Bran Muffins

(Yield:  12 large muffins, 16 small muffins)

2 large eggs

1/3 c canola oil

1/2 c honey (They turned out pretty sweet, so I think you could go with even less honey – maybe just ¼ cup)

3/4 c reduced-fat milk (I used 1%) (I used water – no milk in my fridge)

2 tsp almond extract (or pure vanilla extract)

1 c wheat bran

1 c whole wheat flour

1 tsp each baking powder and baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 c white chocolate chips

1 1/2 c fresh cherries, pitted and halved

Cooking spray

Muffin tray

paper liners (if using)

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Beat together the eggs, oil, honey, milk, and almond/vanilla extract.  In a separate bowl mix together the bran, 1 c flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet, then stir in the chips and cherries until just mixed (be careful not to overmix). Bake for 15 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out slightly moist with just a few crumbs (careful not to overcook so they won’t be dry).

These muffins are best fresh out of the oven. I froze some in the interest of prolonging my muffin availability, but unfortunately they kind of dried out. So if you don't want a lot of muffins at once, make a half-batch at a time to maximize your muffin enjoyment.