Friday, December 4, 2015

Banana bran muffins

I'm reading Bob Dylan's Chronicles right now. He has a brilliant mind. It's like going down the rabbit hole of an endless and interesting train of thoughts. One minute he is ruminating on how little he knows about the Civil War and two sentences later he is talking about Tolstoy and Pushkin and you are wondering how those topics connect so you just hang on for the ride.

I especially enjoyed his reflection on how he came to write his own songs. In Dylan's words, "I couldn't have come up with anything comparable or halfway close to the folk song lyrics I was singing to define the way I felt about the world. I guess it happens to you by degrees. You don't just wake up one day and decide that you need to write songs, especially if you're a singer who has plenty them and you're learning more every day. Opportunities may come along for you to convert something-something that exists into something that didn't yet. That might be the beginning of it."

I like this because I love to write and the way Dylan speaks to writing songs is how I feel about writing in general. Writing is an opportunity for me to express my thoughts about the world in small doses daily. It's a part of the reason I started this space on my favorite topic, food.

Which means my train of thought for the day went something like this: Dylan's ruminations, love of writing, food is great, breakfast muffins, need to use old bananas, love bran muffins, what about breakfast banana bran muffins? See how we got here?

Muffins! You all know how I feel about muffins. I especially love bran muffins. They are nutty, hearty, and full of fiber. I also happen to love banana muffins. Banana adds sweetness without sugar. These muffins were a perfect marriage. I feel good about eating them in the morning. As with all muffins, these are easy to make! Easy, I tell you! You are 30 minutes away from enjoying warm homemade muffins start to finish. Do it on Sunday and enjoy them the rest of the week.

Banana bran muffins
Adapted from my favorite Cook's Illustrated bran muffins, makes 12

2 1/4 cups bran cereal
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 3/4 cups 2% greek yogurt
3 ripe bananas

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a large muffin tin with nonstick spray.

In a food processor or blender, add a cup of the bran cereal and pulse until powder.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cup of bran cereal you just processed with wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar, molasses, and vanilla extract until combined. Add melted butter and yogurt and whisk until combined. Add bananas and use a potato masher to mash until mostly smooth (a few banana lumps don't matter). With a spatula, stir in remaining bran cereal.

Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir with a spatula until just combined. Distribute batter in muffin cups. Bake 14-18 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

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