February is American Heart Month. Make your heart happy with these delicious and healthy Oat Bran Muffins!
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I have a serious muffin problem. Check that. I have a serious breakfast problem. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Normally I keep myself in check and go with a simple bowl of cereal or a cup of Greek yogurt topped with granola. But the weekends are different! I seriously look forward to my morning cup of coffee on Saturday and Sunday…and of course I need a delicious treat to go along with said coffee. After all, it is the weekend! Blueberry muffins are probably one of my all-time favorites, and this Banana Bread isn’t far behind. But recently, these Oat Bran Muffins have been magically appearing next to my morning coffee. And the best part about these bran muffins? Well, there are two best parts. They taste amazing, and they’re loaded with all sorts of healthy ingredients. (Just don’t tell the kids that their breakfast is actually healthy!)
Why do bran muffins get such a bad rap? Is it because they include healthier ingredients like wheat bran and whole wheat flour? Granted, I’ve tasted some pretty mediocre bran muffins before. You know the kind I’m talking about. They’re dense, dry, and completely lacking in flavor. Well these Oat Bran Muffins are none of that! They smell like oatmeal raisin cookies (another favorite of mine…but I’ll save that one for another day) when they’re baking. And when they’re done? These muffins aren’t dense at all…and they’re full of flavor.
While I certainly could eat a bunch of these muffins when they’re freshly baked, that would kinda defeat the whole healthy ingredient thing. In fact, I really enjoy these muffins toasted the next day. I cut them in half and toast them in the oven for a couple of minutes, and I find that the oats give the muffins a wonderful crispy crust. Just sitting here writing this is making me crave a toasted bran muffin!
Oat Bran Muffins
- Grease a muffin tin (or insert paper muffin liners). Set pan aside.
- In a medium bowl, add the buttermilk, oil, eggs, vanilla, brown sugar, and molasses. Whisk together until fully combined. Stir in the wheat bran and 1/3 cup of oats; let mixture sit for 15 minutes. (This allows oats to soften.)
- Meanwhile, place the raisins in 1 cup of very hot water; set aside to soak. (Tip: This step can be skipped, but I find that soaking raisins in hot water for a few minutes plumps them up a bit.)
- In a medium bowl, combine both flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and orange zest. Stir until well combined. After oat mixture has softened, add the flour mixture and stir until just combined. (Do not overmix.)
- Drain the raisins; fold the raisins and pecans into the batter.
- Fill muffin tins approximately 3/4 full. Sprinkle tops of muffins with remaining 1/4 cup of oats. Bake for 17-20 minutes at 400°F, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Turn muffins out of pan onto a baking rack to cool.