Includes: “How to Get Your Muffins Out of the Pan without Breaking”
We think we have the greatest bran muffins on earth. We made a several hundred of them yesterday and gave them to folks when they came in the store. We served them with butter and really good peach and raspberry jam. What’s not to like about a warm honey bran muffin with great jam?
But we weren’t making plain muffins; we were exploring, adding goodies to our mix. You can do the same in your kitchen with a mix or your favorite recipe. Here’s how we did it:
Cinnamon Chip Bran Muffins. To a mix for 12 large high-domed muffins, we added one cup cinnamon chips. They tasted great, no—fantastic. But as the chips melted, we got a little spread and overhang around the rims. We solved that problem; we cut the water back a quarter cup and made 15 muffins instead of twelve so the cups weren’t quite so full. Perfect.
Apple Cranberry Bran Muffins. To a mix for 12 large high-domed muffins, we added 3/4 cup diced apples and 3/4 cup dried cranberries plus a teaspoon of Vietnamese cinnamon, The cranberries overpowered the apples so we added a teaspoon of apple flavor to the next batch. Perfect. The Vietnamese cinnamon really adds a nice touch.
Ginger Pear Bran Muffins. Pears have such a mild flavor; it’s hard to get them to stand out. Instead we left them in the background, a nice sweet orchard taste, and let the candied ginger do the heavy lifting. We added 3/4 cup dried pears and 3/4 cup small diced candied ginger.
Carrot Cake Bran Muffins. Great muffins. We used 3/4 cup grated carrots, one teaspoon of cassia cinnamon, and 3/4 cup chopped walnuts. They’re not sweet like a carrot cake. Don’t be tempted to add more sugar—you’ll upset the balance and they’ll spread. Use a jam or jelly to make them sweeter. Pioneer Valley Peach Pineapple Paradise Jelly is perfect.
Cranberry Nut Bran Muffins. These are my favorites—but then I like cranberries and I like nuts. Add 3/4 cup dried cranberries and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans.
Pineapple Coconut Bran Muffins. These are the muffins that made Kelli the Baker’s husband a bran muffin convert. We drained crushed coconut and added 3/4 cup plus 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut.
Candied Ginger Bran Muffins. These are the ginger pear muffins without the pears. We added 3/4 cup candied ginger.
Other muffins: We meant to experiment with ginger apple plus some pumpkin muffins—ginger pumpkin, pumpkin raisin, and pumpkin nut—but didn’t get that far. If you try these variations, let us know what you think.
Kelli Tracy in our test kitchen made most of these muffins. Her husband stopped by to see her and then grabbed a Pineapple Coconut Bran Muffin to eat on the road. He called Kelli from the car, “That was a really good muffin.” He doesn’t like bran muffins. Kelli said there was a long pause when he realized he had eaten a bran muffin. “I can’t believe I ate a bran muffin. Can you bring the recipe home?”
We had about a hundred muffins left over. We put them in closed containers and saved them overnight. The tops were no longer crusty. We put them back in a warm oven, 250 degrees, for ten minutes and that dried the tops and made the muffins very good again.
About those Muffins
I said that you can use another mix or recipe but our bran muffin mix makes great muffins. Listen to Lana in Bellingham, Washington:
“This mix makes the BEST bran muffins. Just add water. I keep this mix on hand and make the muffins a couple of times a month. They’re fabulous!”
How to Get Your Muffins Out of the Pan without Breaking
Ever have trouble getting your muffins out of the pan? You pull and the tops come off. Wasted muffins. You can buy a muffin top pan and make only the tops. Or you can follow the three suggestions below.
Suggestion #1: Use a great pan.
When we started this business, we had some name brand pans that were a heavy and dark. Perfect—except that they didn’t release worth a darn. We bought some commercial grade muffin pans with a great, slick surface and most of the problem was solved. If you don’t have good pans, nothing else works.
Suggestion #2: Get a timer
When muffins are hot out of the oven, they’re soft and fragile. They’re easy to crush or tear apart. Set the timer and give your muffins a few minutes to set up. Four minutes is about right.
When I’m baking, I wear an Everywhere Timer around my neck. Then I can go where I want and do what I need without being tied to the kitchen. Setting the timer for another four minutes isn’t a big deal.
Suggestion #3: Get a soft bladed silicone spatula
This is my secret weapon. I use it all the time. The soft blade bends around the corner of bread pans and muffin pans to break free those sticky goodies. And it’ll never scratch your expensive bakeware.