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Whole Wheat Banana Bran Muffins

I think I am starting to get a reputation as the “dessert lady”, which is a title that I am completely fine with. In fact, it was kind of my goal in starting this blog that people would ask me to more dinner parties in which I could bring more desserts. We are going over to a friend’s house tonight for a Shabbat dinner and I was asked to go bring the dessert. Yay! Immediately my head filled with visions of key lime cheesecake, opera cake, poached pear pie, and black and white cookies. I was starting to look through my recipes when I got the email.

No dairy.

No gluten.

Safe in pregnancy.

I thought it was a joke. I read the email at least 4 times and then looked at the list I had made. I came to the realization that none of those options would work. I didn’t know what to do. I googled a few things and realized I had no idea what I was looking for, so I took the dogs for a walk to get inspiration. Since it’s still pretty cold outside, I knew I wanted to make something with seasonal flavors. After a very, very long walk, I decided on a gingered pear pie with a gluten free pie crust. I  searched for recipes for a pie crust and finally found one that looked like it would work for a first time GF baker. I also chose a GF strusel topping for the pie. I’m not sure how the pie came out. I haven’t tried it yet, it looks tasty, but I couldn’t very well take a slice out of the pie and then present it for the dessert tonight. I guess we will find out tonight! I might bring a fruit salad with me just in case…

So what does any of that have to do with these muffins? Well absolutely nothing. But like I’ve said before, this is my blog and I should be allowed to talk about whatever I want to. See the thing is, the pie might be inedible and I might not want to share the recipe with you. Also, I haven’t taken a picture of the pie and don’t have my camera with me. So, I am posting a recipe for something that I know is very good so that you don’t stop reading my blog.

I love breakfast, and I especially love muffins. I make a big batch of these every few weeks, wrap them individually, and stick them in the freezer. Then, I can have a homemade muffin every morning while I’m driving to school (It’s a very long drive. Sometimes I take 2. Please don’t tell anyone.) These muffins are not your normal bran muffin. They were adapted from a Barefoot Contessa recipe, and really, she can do no wrong. They remind me of the bran muffins I ate while we were on our honeymoon (I may have even snuck a few of these bran muffins back into the country, maybe). They are also chock full of whole grains and just 1 with some a piece of fruit will keep you full until lunch. So make these muffins and enjoy them, and check back to see how the pie turned out!

Whole Wheat Banana Bran Muffins
Yield: about a dozen large muffins or 20-24 smaller muffins
printer friendly version

1 cup unprocessed wheat bran (I use Bob’s)
1 cup plain nonfat or low fat yogurt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dried cranberries (I’ve also tried golden raisins or diced dried apples. I like the dried cranberries the best)
1 cup large-diced bananas (Make sure the banana is not overly ripe, fresh bananas work best for this)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a muffin tin, or line it with paper liners.

Combine the bran and yogurt and set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, 1 at a time. Scrape the bowl, then add the molasses, orange zest, and vanilla. (The mixture will look curdled.) Add the bran/yogurt mixture and combine.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix well with a whisk or fork. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the batter just until combined. Don’t overmix it! Fold in the cranberries, bananas and walnuts with a rubber spatula.

With an ice cream scoop or ladel, fill the muffin cups to the top and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Adapted From: The Barefoot Contessa


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