One thing that I really miss from North America is waking up to a moist, soft, sweet, bran muffin. I’m not sure if it was the tangible change in season in Cyprus or something else but I had a huge craving for some. My sister is visiting and so we have been spending a few hours at the beach every day because in Canada she won’t have weather like this until next summer, so after we were driving home the other day we stopped at an organic shop and I bought all the harder-to-find ingredients for this recipe including: molasses, coconut sugar and fine bran. What I remember and love about bran muffins in Canada is that they would be my go-to lazy and healthy breakfast option. I would not know what to eat and then find one in a coffee shop and buy it. I couldn’t wait to tear off the top and bite into a sweet, and slightly gooey, breakfast muffin. But I had never had to make them, I guess because I always knew they were my lazy-eat-out quick breakfast option. But because of my craving, I decided to make them because I can’t actually think of anywhere in Cyprus that sells bran muffins. In doing so, I decided to add some Cypriotness to these muffins and used a brand of carob-honey to add a carob-kick to the muffins. If you don’t have carob-honey, that’s no problem, the muffins will still be tasty. If you want a carob fix and only have carob syrup, I would just use all honey, and substitute out 1 tsp of honey for 1 tsp of carob syrup in the muffin mix, and the same in the glaze mix. I have not tried it, so am not sure the results with the substitutions, but I think it should be OK. Anyway, if you do have carob-honey the carob flavour is subtle but present. It gives these muffins an extra layer of flavour. And the glaze is reeeallly delicious. I think the glaze is what makes a bran muffin. The glaze gets put into the bottoms of the muffin tins before the muffins gets cooked. You need to ensure that the glaze is spread around the bottom of the muffin tin so that it is absorbed by the muffin, because this is what really adds that sweetness and moistness to a bran muffin – and it’s the reason I discovered that I basically eat them! I actually turned my muffins upside down when they were cooling so that the any unabsorbed glaze could drip through the muffin properly, and I would recommend doing that as well. Enjoy!
for the muffins:
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup sultana raisins
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup carob-honey
2 tbs molasses
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup Mitsides all purpose flour
1 cup wheat bran
4 tbs walnut/almond/hazelnut meal (I just used the mixed nut meal I had leftover from another recipe, but you can use meal made from just ground up walnuts)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
for the glaze:
3 tbs unsalted butter
3 tbs coconut sugar
3 tbs light brown sugar
2 tbs carob-honey
2 tsp water
1. Preheat oven to 175C.
2. Place milk, raisin, brown sugar, honey, molasses, vegetable oil and egg and blend in a large mixing bowl on medium speed until everything is well blended. Stop the mixer.
3. Prepare the glaze. In a small bowl melt the butter in the microwave. Then add the coconut sugar, brown sugar, honey and water. Mix together with a spatula until it looks and feels like melted caramel.
4. Returning to the muffin mix, add in flour, wheat bran, nut meal, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix together with a spatula until everything is just moistened.
5. Place about 1 tbs of the glaze into 12 muffin tins. (I lined my tins with muffin liners and poured the glaze into these, but in reality you don’t need the liners because the glaze will keep the muffins from sticking, so it is up to you whether you use muffin liners.) Make sure you use a spoon to bring the glaze up the sides of the muffin tins/liners so that the tins/liners are well coated.
6. Fill the muffin tins until they are 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. When cooling, turn the muffins upside down on a cooling rack so that the glaze can be absorbed by the whole muffin and not just the bottoms.
7. Serve warm with a little butter if you are after something comforting!