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Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Mennonite Bran Gems or Muffins

While I love to bake, so many homebaked goods are high in sugar and fat. That's what makes them taste so good, right? But there are good homemade treats that aren't all sweet and saturated, and can be served without a dollop of butter or jam. These little bran muffins, for instance, are delicious.

This is another adaptation of an old Waterloo County Mennonite recipe. I like this for a quick bread or sweet to go with afternoon tea, and my husband thinks they are as good as cookies. They aren't very sweet in terms of sugar, but the molasses and bran make them seem sweeter than they are.

Bran is part of the wheat kernel, and when flour is milled, it is removed. Usually it is included in the manufacture of boxed cereals or used for animal feeds. That's a pity, because it is nutritious and adds a good deal of necessary fibre to the diet. Why save it for grape nuts or bran buds, or feed it to the goats?

I buy it in the baking aisle of the store, or at the bulk foods store. It isn't expensive, and sometimes I add a half cup or so to baked products that are just white flour. It adds fibre without changing the taste or texture.

Equipment: Mixing bowl, mixing spoon or electric mixer, mini muffin or "gem" pan, measuring cup and spoons.

Ingredients: 1/3 cup white sugar; 1 tablespoon molasses; 2 tablespoons butter; 1 egg; 1 cup milk with 1 teaspoon vinegar, or 1 cup sour milk or buttermilk;  1 teaspoon baking soda stirred into 1/2 cup white flour; about 2 cups wheat bran.

Directions: Cream (mix thoroughly until soft) the sugar, molasses and butter. Beat in the egg, then the milk. Add the flour mixture, stir well. Add the bran until you have a soft, pourable dough that just starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Butter the muffin tin cups and dollop a tablespoon or more or more of batter into each cup, depending on the size of the cups. My mini muffin pan takes about two tablespoons per cup, and that makes two dozen exactly.

Bake at 375F for 10-15 minutes or so, depending on the size of the muffins. Do not overbake. They should be nicely moist inside, without a crispy crust.


  1. Looks very good. After a long HOT summer, I am looking forward to fall and cooking and baking again.