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Merry Muffins with a Twist

Merry Muffins with a Twist

Mentioning buttermilk and cravings in yesterday’s post reminded me that recently I stumbled upon and have been enjoying an old recipe given to me by my sister-in-law. For years, we called her concoction Merry Muffins, but when I rediscovered the recipe a couple of months back, I was craving chocolate. Merry Muffins or chocolate? Why not have both?

The original recipe called for Raisin Bran, but I’m not a fan. I do like plain Post Bran Flakes though, which, by the way, are so extremely hard to find around here these days that I’ve had to resort to buying Kroger generic bran flakes. They’re not the same for regular cereal eating, but they’ll do, and I find other store-brand bran flakes taste like soggy cardboard — or at least what I’d imagine it to taste like. Why don’t stores here stock Post Bran Flakes anymore?! The original recipe also called for buttermilk, but since that’s not something I keep on hand, I began purchasing the powdered variety years ago. If I’m out of that, I’ll *sour regular milk with lemon juice as an “emergency” substitution (1 tablespoon lemon juice per cup of milk).

Julie Muffins

3 cups Bran Flakes (Raisin Bran, if you insist)
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. canola oil (if you use slightly less, or substitute part with applesauce, you probably won’t notice)
1-1/2 cups sugar
2-1/2 cups flour (part whole wheat, if it eases your conscience)
2 eggs, beaten (or 1/2 cup egg whites or egg substitute)
2 cups water + 1/2 cup Saco Buttermilk Blend powder (or 2 cups buttermilk or *soured milk)
2-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 to 1 cup blueberries (and/or raspberries, if you like them)
1/4 to 1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or 24 halves, crumbled)

Combine cereal, sugar, flour, buttermilk powder, soda and salt. Add beaten eggs, oil, and water. Mix well. Pour in muffin tins sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, filling each about 2/3 full. Now is the fun part. Before baking, top each muffin with the amounts and combination of your choice of berries, chocolate chips, and walnuts. We all like different blends of toppings. Banana slices and pecans would probably be good too, although I haven’t tried them. If you want a more even distribution rather than having them all on top, gently stir or pat the toppings into the batter in each tin. Bake for 15-20 min. in 400º F. oven.

The batter makes about 2 dozen muffins and keeps up to 6 weeks in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container, so you can bake all at once or save part to bake fresh another day. You can store it with the fruit mixed in, but your batter will take on the color of the berries, which to me is not visually appealing and reminds me of my creativity backfiring when I was a pre-teen learning to bake. Mom will recall the time I wanted cake, but all we had was a box mix for maple cake. I thought the tan batter was awfully bland looking so I added the only food coloring we had — blue. After baking, the resulting color was disgustingly similar to that of bread mold! The cake tasted fine, as long as we ate it in the dark. 😛

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