Growing up, my favourite activity was reading. It wasn’t uncommon to find me with my nose in a book and my mind lost in between its pages. If I wasn’t reading a book, then I could have been found in the library, going through the rows and rows of books looking for the perfect stack to come home with.
When you are the child of immigrants, you know that your life is different from “real” Canadians, even if you own a citizenship card that tells you otherwise. It was through the characters in the books that I read, that I learned what life was like for my “real” counterparts (mind you, most of the books I read were American). While I had many things in common with Ramona and Encyclopedia Brown, things like apple pie, muffins, chocolate cake were some of the things that I knew set us apart. These delights never came out of the oven in our home.
Fast forward to today, things have changed. My oven spits out muffins and pies with equal fervour as it does tandoori chicken or Greek potatoes and I’ve learned that there really is no fixed way to be Canadian.
These bran muffins are not so popular in our home during the summer months but come the start of school, they are made regularly, each week with a different add-in, diced apples being our favourite. They are wholesome and delicious and are perfect for breakfast or healthy treat for school lunches. And they’re simple enough… two bowls, no cereal boxes, no waiting for butter to soften!
Buttermilk Wheat Bran Muffins (adapted from Joy of Baking)
- 130 g white whole wheat flour
- 100 g wheat bran
- 75 g unrefined cane sugar or muscovado
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 280 g buttermilk
- 80 g molasses
- 1 egg
- optional add-ins: 1 cup raisins, currants, dried blueberries, or dried cranberries, chocolate chips, finely diced apple, shredded carrots, desiccated coconut, chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds (Muffins in the photos do not include any of these.)
- Preheat oven to 400 °F.
- In a medium bowl, stir together flour, bran, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. (unrefined sugar, muscovado, and baking soda tend to clump so mix well.)
- In a large bowl, add oil and swirl around to coat the sides of the bowl. Add buttermik, molasses and egg and whisk to combine.
- Add the dried ingredient mixture to the wet ingredient mixture and stir to combine (do not over-mix).
- Fold in the additives if using.
- Fill the muffin cups (batter will be quite runny) and bake for 20 minutes (check by using the toothpick test).
- Cool on a rack.