I used to have a weakness for bran muffins. Not the homemade kind, but the ultra-sweet, supersized variety that I could pick up on my college campus. I’m sure they weren’t remotely vegan, but I loved them: there was something so irresistable about the dense texture, the deep color, the contrast of earthy bran and sweet, plump raisins. It’s been a long time since I’ve had proper bran muffins–probably years–and these vegan apple bran muffins are my effort to re-create all of the things I love about the muffin with slightly more wholesome ingredients, not to mention the addition of moist, juicy apples.
The apples in question here are the sweetest and most flavorful I’ve had in a long time: they’re Autumn Glory Apples, which taste amazingly like caramel and cinnamon (when I first tried them, I immediately thought of candy apples, but there was no sticky caramel coating in sight). They’re the essence of fall, but their season stretches right through wintertime, for which I’m grateful. Because the apples are so naturally flavorful, the they’re ideal for everyday snacking (dipping them in almond butter is pretty heavenly, too). But they also have the perfect juicy, crisp texture for baking, as I learned when I folded them into these easy, healthful snack muffins.
The muffins get a double dose of apple, from both the fresh, diced Autumn Glory Apples and also applesauce, which I used to add moisture. In the past I might have used raisins as a mix-in for the muffins, but I so prefer the use of apples here. They create juicy, fresh pockets of texture throughout the muffins.
Of course, you could add dried fruit to the muffins if you like, or you could add some crunch by stirring in chopped walnuts, pecans, or pumpkin seeds. No matter what, these muffins are packed with fiber (thanks to the oat or wheat bran), iron (thanks to a little molasses for sweetening and color), and they’re just a little richer in protein than your average breakfast muffin–especially the muffins I used to get!
Vegan Apple Bran Muffins
- 1 1/2 cups light spelt or whole wheat pastry flour or unbleached, all-purpose flour*
- 1 1/2 cups oat or wheat bran
- 1/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 apples peeled and finely chopped
- 1 cup applesauce
- 1 flax egg**
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil such as safflower or grapeseed
- 1/4 cup molasses
- Preheat your oven to 350F and lightly oil or line a muffin baking pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, bran, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Fold in the apple pieces, making sure they all get nicely coated.
- In a separate bowl, combine the applesauce, flax egg, oil, and molasses. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until everything is just combined. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared muffin pan. Bake for 18-24 minutes, or until the tops of the edges of the muffin tops are just browning and a toothpick inserted into the muffins comes out mostly clean. Muffins can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or individually wrapped and frozen for up to 1 month.
The next few months are going to be busy ones, and busy in a different way than the last few have been. This past fall I was burrowed into book writing and recipe development, which meant that I could work from home most of the time. This winter I’ll need to be on-the-go a little more often, which means that I need tasty, healthful, reliable snacks. My wintertime snack cravings are a bit denser than my summertime ones, which is to say that a wholesome muffin appeals more than a piece of fruit. I know these bran muffins will be just what I need, and I’m sure I’ll be whipping them up often. Perhaps you’ll try these for a vegan snack, too, or you’ll pair them with something for an easy breakfast on-the-go. No matter what, I hope you enjoy the texture, taste, and the juicy bites of apple within them.
It’s hard to believe that we’re now in the final days of December, preparing ourselves for a new year. I’m giving some quiet thought to how I’d like to think about and approach 2017, and I’m sure that I’ll have more to say on Sunday, when I check in with weekend reading. As far as the coming month is concerned, I think it’s a good time to focus on simple, hearty food, and those are the sorts of recipes I’ll be sharing, starting with an easy skillet meal on Thursday. Stay tuned!
This post is sponsored by Domex Superfresh Growers. All opinions expressed are my own, and I love the flavor of these juicy, sweet apples. Thank you for your support!