I realize I already have a bran muffin recipe on the site, and I also realize that I really enjoyed those bran muffins. However, the instant appeal of these muffins was that they were advertised as “refrigerator proof,” that is, the batter can be completely mixed and put in the fridge for up to 30 days and when you feel like fresh muffins, just scoop and go. I thought my celebratory breakfast would be a great testing ground for them. I prepared the batter on Saturday afternoon (shortly before making my PB and Chocolate Rice Krispies Treats) and stuck it in the fridge for the next morning.
I've mentioned before how much I love raisin bran muffins, but let me reiterate, I would take a good raisin bran muffin over any other muffin any day of the week. That being said you will notice that the title of the recipe does not mention raisins. I decided to negate them since the last time I made raisin bran muffins my brother suggested they be omitted to make them more like my mother's bran muffins. I also shrank the original recipe to one batch and made the switch to dark brown sugar but ran the risk of leaving the muffins a bit bland by reducing it to just a 1/3 cup. And though it might be considered blasphemy by some, I replaced the butter with canola oil. I love butter but I don't always think butter is better, especially for an application such as this. It seems to me that if you want a batter that stays usable over time, the natural fat separation of butter could create an issue. Since oil is 100% fat, this is not a concern.
Now traditionally the reason you don't mix a recipe to completion and then store it is because it can have a detrimental affect on the leavening. It was for this reason that I stared at the dry and wet ingredients in their separate bowls and told myself that I shouldn't continue. Why risk it? But I pushed aside my concerns and decided that if I was going to test the recipe I should test it as advertised.
The next morning I got up early, prepared my waffle batter, went out to get Sunday morning Timmy's, and then dished the muffin batter into the tin. I wanted slightly taller and larger muffins so I opted to make eight rather than twelve, filling each muffin cup to the top.
The sweetness of the muffins was definitely subtle. Not that they were bland, but there was definitely room for a little more sugar. What was my brother's comment? “Next time, add raisins”. I wanted to slap him, but I had to agree. Because of how little sugar there is these muffins are the perfect vehicle for the sweetness of raisins. I will definitely add them next time, or leave the sugar at a ½ cup. That is not to say that these weren't good, because I really enjoyed them, but they might not be for everyone. The only other thing I might alter is changing the whole wheat flour to white. Sure, it's a little less healthy, but the grittiness of the whole wheat flour is noticeable, and not what I wanted in my favourite muffin. I suppose you could also use whole wheat white. It also bares mentioning that the grittiness was gone the next day, although I did warm it up in the microwave first :). Oh and I might also increase the salt to a half teaspoon, it seemed like it could use more, but again, this is preference.
I have to say though, I was impressed at how well the batter held up. The muffins were tall (although they didn't spread much) and delicious. I'm not sure what makes this batter more durable, maybe it's the cereal, but the ease at which it comes together and the freedom it allows makes this recipe a keeper. And honestly, how nice would it be to get up in the morning and just decide you want fresh muffins then *POOF* a few minutes later there they are. But maybe even better: how about fresh muffins as a late night snack? :). Give it a few days and your family might start referring to you as Betty Potter or Harry Crocker :).
Refrigerator Bran Muffins
Adapted from My Kitchen CafeYields 8 larger or 12 standard muffins
1 ¼ cup whole wheat flour (163g) – You might try white AP instead
1 cup wheat bran (64g) – Apparently you can also use Bran Flakes
½ cup All Bran (36g) – Apparently you can also you All Bran Buds
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt – possibly increase to ½ tsp
1 cup buttermilk **
½ cup water, boiling
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed (80g)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp canola oil -- or any neutral vegetable oil
2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
½ tsp vanilla
In a small bowl add flour, baking soda, and salt and whisk together to combine.
In a medium sized bowl (if storing over night use one that can be sealed) add wheat bran and cereal. Add boiling water and stir until mixture is cool.
Once cooled add milk, sugar, egg, butter, applesauce and vanilla. Stir until mixture is completely combined.
Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until just combined.
At this point you can seal the batter and store it in your fridge. The original recipe says up to 30 days.
When ready to bake:
Preheat oven to 375F and prepare a standard 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners or grease.
For 8 muffins spoon batter into cups until completely full, for 12 muffins fill cups until ¾ full.
Bake on centre rack for 20-25 minutes for 8 muffins (mine took 20) or 14-16 minutes for 12 muffins or until toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool on rack in tin for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
** Alternatively substitute 1 cup milk less 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp vinegar. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes -- I did this