This is for the bakers out there who want a snack that is high in fiber and fairly low in fat. These taste best fresh out of the oven or warmed a bit with a little butter or jam (butter and jam not included in nutritional breakdown of this recipe, so don’t go overboard). You’ll need a 12-tin muffin pan and a food processor. The folks at Cooking Light, where I found this recipe in their January 2015 issue, say to use either a blender or food processor, but trust me, the blender doesn’t work as well, so save yourself the headache and go with the processor, if you have one. The recipe makes 12 small- to medium-sized muffins. If you decide you want to add raisins or cranberries or nuts to the batter, that’s perfectly fine, but then you’re on your own determining the nutritional breakdown:)
1 and 3/4 cups whole wheat bran (I didn’t have this sitting in my pantry, so I found it in my grocery store’s Nature’s Marketplace section, with other grains and nuts available in bulk. If you have trouble finding it in your store, just ask a store employee.)
1 cup pitted and chopped dates (about six ozs) The recipe doesn’t call for chopping the dates, but I found that the first time I tried the recipe, the dates didn’t get blended well enough, so I now do a rough chop and I recommend you do the same.
3/4 cup orange juice
1 cup fat-free buttermilk
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 medium)
2 Tbs. butter melted
2 Tbs. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (available either in the regular flour section or in your organic or Nature’s Marketplace section of your grocery store)
1 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
cooking spray (like Pam)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread the 1 and 3/4 cups of wheat bran on a baking sheet and bake for eight to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring once (Hard to tell if the bran has been browned from my perspective, so just bake it for ten minutes, stirring once).
For convenience’s sake, I’d transfer the wheat bran into a bowl, as we won’t be needing it for awhile.
Now for the date mixture we’re going to make. Roughly chop one cup of pitted dates. Place the dates and 3/4 cup of orange juice in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, and reduce the heat so that the dates and juice simmer for about 15 minutes (the recipe calls for 20 minutes, but when I first made this, I simmered for 20 minutes and there was no liquid left and you’ll need a little liquid when you go to process the dates in the next step). So, keep a careful eye on the pan and simmer until you just have a bit of liquid left with the dates. Remove the dates from the heat, uncover and let cool for five minutes.
Transfer the cooked dates and remaining liquid into a food processor and process until smooth (if you see that some of the date mixture is sticking to the sides of the bowl during the processing, stop the processor and use a spatula get that stuff further down into the bowl so that it mixes).
Add buttermilk, followed by the cup of mashed banana, two Tbs. of melted butter, 2 Tbs. of canola oil and 1 tsp. of vanilla extract. Process again until smooth and all the ingredients are well blended.
It’s time to get our dry ingredients mixed together before adding them to the processed date mixture. Spoon the whole wheat pastry flour into a dry measuring cup and level with a knife. Combine the flour, bran, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.
Next we add the 1 and 1/2 tsp. of baking powder…
Add the date mixture to the bran mixture, stirring until just moist, but also ensuring that some of the flour mixture isn’t sitting stuck at the bottom of the bowl. Add the two lightly beaten eggs, stirring until just combined. The batter is ready.
It’s time for the muffin pan. The recipe says to use 12 muffin cup liners and line them in the muffin pan tins, coating the liners with cooking spray, but I prefer not to use liners at all and just coat the tins I’m using with the spray.
Spoon the batter into the muffin tins (I use a small ice cream scoop, so that the tins are filled fairly uniformly with batter). You should be able to get 12 muffins from the batter that will be small to medium-sized when baked. Bake at 350 degrees for 28 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center of muffins comes out clean. Wait five minutes or so, and remove the muffins to cool on a wire rack (I run a knife around the edges of each tin to help pop each muffin out). Enjoy!
Serving Size: one muffin
Per Serving: Cal: 168; Fat: 5.4 g. (Sat Fat: 1.7 g.); Fiber: 7 g.; Chol: 36 mg.; Sodium: 183 mg.; Carb: 29 g.; Pro: 4 g.