Heading into the kitchen this morning, I found not much hope for a quick breakfast. I pulled out my recipe file in search of something to carry me through the morning without taking too much time away from work.
For weekday breakfasts, I prefer a muffin that is neither too sweet nor too rich. Something that feels satisfying and a little bit virtuous. After fiddling with my notes from previous experiments, I arrived at these — substantial but not too dense, with plenty of fiber and a protein boost from egg and buttermilk. They are made with raisin bran cereal, and I think they are much more interesting than a bowl of flakes.
For spice, I was fortunate to receive the 2009 Holiday Spice Blend from Boulette’s Larder at San Francisco Ferry Plaza (also available online). The sweet-spicy blend is made from unrefined Japanese sugar, Persian rose petals, freshly ground Tahitian vanilla and peppercorns, pulverized freeze-dried ginger, and Vietnamese cassia bark.
I used the beautiful muffin tins gifted to me by a neighbor from his mother’s kitchen after she passed away. Parchment paper cupcake liners make clean-up easy, and slide right off without leaving paper bits (or worse, foil) on your muffins when it’s time to enjoy them.
The muffins freeze beautifully in a zipper-top bag (with the air pressed out) for a few weeks, which means you can start the day with a fresh-frozen muffin every day of the week. To reheat, I use the defrost setting on the microwave, them pop it into the toaster oven to crisp the top. A dab of homemade jam and you’re in business!
Weekday Bran Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
2 tablespoons maple syrup, agave nectar, or honey
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or canola oil
2 cups raisin bran cereal
1 cup whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or mixed baking spice
Preheat the oven to 350oF with a rack in the center. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with parchment paper liners.
In a medium bowl, stir together the buttermilk , egg, maple syrup, and oil to combine. Stir in the cereal to moisten it completely. Set aside to soften slightly.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spice.
When the oven is ready to roll, stir the dry ingredients into the cereal mixture just to combine. The mixture will have large flakes in it, which will magically break down as they bake to become completely undetectable. I love that!
Scoop into the lined muffin tin and bake until the centers test clean with a toothpick, about 18 minutes.