Toasted bran muffins recipe

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Bran muffins can be hard to love – they’re too virtuous for many tastes, with their whole raisins and their sawdust-like bran. We take those same ingredients but apply a few simple extra steps to transcend them into another universe of flavour and texture. These muffins are brilliant for breakfast, and so filling that eating one in the morning might well see you through till supper (or, at least, lunch) without snacking!

  • Yield: 12 large muffins


  • 480 g currants
  • 190 g bran
  • 170 g light muscovado sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 finely grated orange zest
  • 120 ml rapeseed oil
  • 250 ml buttermilk
  • 210 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • a good handful of rolled oats, for topping
How to Make It
  1. Put the currants in a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover them. Leave for an hour – or overnight – until they are plump and soft.
  2. Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2. Butter the flat surface of a 12-cup muffin tin thoroughly – that is, all the space between the cups themselves. (The muffins should rise and form mushroom shapes, overflowing slightly onto the top of the muffin tin. Buttering the top of the tin makes it easy to turn them out of the tin after baking.) Line the cups with paper muffin cases. Alternatively, for really tall, shapely muffins, you can do as we do in the bakery and use American popover pans lined with paper cases. These are less easy to find, but make for particularly handsome muffins.
  3. Spread the bran on a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper and toast it in the oven for 15 minutes. The best way to tell whether it’s ready is to use your nose – it should smell almost woody. Once your kitchen is filled with its scent, it’s ready. The colour will darken slightly, but not too much. Allow to cool completely, and, while it does, increase the oven temperature to 170°C/gas mark 3.
  4. Drain the plump currants and blitz them in a food processor to form a smooth, dark, sticky paste. Put in a large mixing bowl, stir in the toasted bran, along with the sugar, the eggs, orange zest, oil and buttermilk.
  5. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. With a large metal spoon, fold the currant mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined – don’t over-mix. Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin cups, and sprinkle over the rolled oats.
  6. Bake for 30–35 minutes. They are ready when well risen, with good, firm tops. These muffins stay incredibly moist, thanks to the currant purée. If you push a skewer into the centre of them, it should emerge with the odd sticky crumb still on it, rather than completely clean.

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