The new year typically brings a sense of renewal, casting aside the excesses from the holidays and starting out fresh. We’re almost a week in now; how are the resolutions coming along? Still going strong…or not? Whether it be your basics: exercising more, maintaining healthier eating habits or keeping cleaner house (all of which are on my list among other things), or something a bit more personal, those resolutions give this upcoming year a sense of purpose. At least it does for me. Unlike past years where I had sort of forgotten those plans I made in January by March-ish, I intend on keeping up with them. Why? Well, in the past 365 days we have had some big events in our little family. A milestone birthday for me, career advancement for my husband but most notably, the birth of our baby boy. He will now be ONE (what? how??) in a couple weeks and the magnitude of this event just dawned on me. I am responsible for keeping him safe, showing him love and helping him grow every single day for the rest of my life. This little guy has flourished and enriched our lives in more ways than I could ever describe. He has given my resolutions more significance this year and is all the motivation I need to hold myself accountable.
So what does this have to do with muffins? Nothing really, but since this is the first post of the new year we need to start off on the right foot. Taking care of ourselves means taking care of those closest to us is that much easier.
Though bran muffins may seem boring and conjure the feeling of eating cardboard, I promise these are not those muffins. These are different. These bran muffins are wholesome and hearty due to the bran + whole wheat flour but slightly sweet because molasses and honey marry so well together. Studded with tart cherries and sliced almonds with a bit of a sugar crunch added to their tops, these muffins are a great way to start the day, or in our case, the year. Add a schemer of cream cheese and you’re set!
cherry-almond bran muffins
(makes 12-13 muffins)
- 1 cup wheat bran
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
- 3/4 cup dried tart cherries, chopped
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 tbs honey
- 1/2 cup molasses (I used blackstrap)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 2 tbs oil (I used sunflower)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1-2 tbs turbinado sugar for topping
Preheat oven to 400°.
In a medium bowl, whisk together wheat bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in cherries and almonds until coated with teh flour mixure.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients: milk, honey, molasses, eggs, applesuace and oil.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together with a wooden spoon until fully combined.
Line or grease a large muffin tin and fill evenly between the 12 spots. Dust the tops of each muffin with a scant sprinkling of turbinado sugar.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
(adapted from Food52)
**Cherries can certainly be subbed out for your favorite dried fruit and the almonds aren’t vital either. I enjoy cherry + almond flavors, feel free to customize any way you please.