Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Apricot Bran Muffins

Despite the fact that I'm not a big fan of them, I've been craving apricot lately, but I hate their texture, so that means that I need to work with dried apricots. Plus it's spring, and I want to try to bake/cook seasonally a little more. But I've also been trying to figure out muffins, after my disaster on Mother's Day (I forgot salt in the applesauce muffins I made, oops). So I thought the perfect thing to make would be apricot bran muffins. I essentially combined two recipes, and they aren't perfect, but I think they are a good place to start (I hate to say it, but i think they need either nutmeg, cloves or allspice, none of which I use unless absolutely necessary). I realize now that I was very safe on the cinnamon, too, and I will definitely increase that next time I make these. Others might like them with molasses, but I don't really like (or use) molasses, so I didn't want to buy it just for the muffins. But the bran flavor is good, with a little sweetness and an occassional burst of apricot. I'd say they're a keeper. Which is good because now I have a whole box of bran to figure out what to do with. Also, another place of improvement. I put a whole bag of dried apricots in, and thought that it looked like a lot (it seemed like the batter was half apricot) but once the muffins rose, they definitely could have used more. I put my ingredient comments by the individual ingredients because if you are like me, you skim when buying the ingredients and then realize you should have done something differently when reading them comments. It will help me in the future to have it laid out like this, and it's also how I mentally organize things, rather than going back and filling in the details.

1 c flour (I used all purpose because I'm out of whole wheat, but the recipe it was closer to used whole wheat flour)
2 c bran (I used shreds, but there are store brand flakes for half the price, so you could probably use those)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 c packed brown sugar (this was the perfect amount, but you could probably cut it back if you wanted to make the muffins healthier)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c oil
1/2-3/4 c milk (depending on the consistency)
1 egg
~1 c finely chopped dried apricots

I actually mixed up the dry ingredients the night before, but that probably is not the best way to do it. I'll copy and change the directions from one of the recipes I adapted.

Combine flour, bran, baking powder and spices in mixing bowl. Dissolve soda in milk, and beat in egg. Add wet to dry ingredients.

Stir in oil, apricots, then enough more liquid to make proper muffin batter consistency.

Spoon batter into 12 VERY WELL GREASED muffin cups and bake at 375°F for 15 to 18 minutes.

(Note, I got 14 muffins and baked them at 400, like the other recipe I used suggested, but 375 is probably better, as they ended up a little crunchy on top when their insides were completely baked.)

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