These apple vegan bran muffins are the perfect, wholesome muffin for fall. Made with bran, whole grain flour, and chopped fresh apple pieces, they’re packed with fiber and good nutrition.
I ate a bran muffin nearly every day in college. I found them at the nearest campus coffee outpost. They were irresistable, a perfect combination of nutty and buttery sweet.
I haven’t thought about those muffins in years, but recently I got to thinking about a homemade vegan bran muffin. They sprung to mind immediately. These apple bran muffins are less sweet and a little smaller than those campus muffins were. Yet they have that same hearty texture, the earthy notes of molasses, bran, and whole grains.
The muffins they have plump little pockets of fruit, too. In this case, however, that fruit is tender, chopped apples, rather than raisins.
I have nothing against raisins—I use them in muffins all the time—but I love the taste of apple here. The mix of brown sugar and apple is ever so reminiscent of candy apples. Yet it’s delivered in a super wholesome, fiber-rich package.
Simply put, bran muffins are muffins that are baked with some form of bran. This could be wheat bran or oat bran. Oat bran is my preference because it’s milder tasting than wheat bran, but either will work well in this particular bran muffin recipe.
Bran doesn’t replace flour in bran muffins. Usually, it’s included along with flour. It gives bran muffins a denser texture than other muffins, and it also helps to pack them with added nutrition.
Oat bran is the outer layer of an oat groat, which is the whole form of oats. It’s part of both oat groats and steel cut oats, but it can also be eaten on its own. Oat bran can be prepared like a hot cereal, or it can be added to baking, as it is here.
Oat bran happens to be packed with nutritional benefits. These include protein (5 grams per serving), fiber (4 grams per serving), and iron (10% of the RDA per serving). Oat bran is also a good source of minerals, including magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. It’s low in fat, and thanks to all of the fiber, it’s very filling.
What about wheat bran? Wheat bran is similar to oat bran in that it’s the outer part of the whole grain. It, too, is rich in fiber, protein, and phytonutrients. It’s also a source of B vitamins.
No matter which type of bran you use, these vegan bran muffins are more nutrient dense as a result.
Wheat bran is not gluten free. Oat bran can be gluten free, but it can also be subject to cross contamination. If you have celiac disease or avoid gluten, be sure to check the packaging of your oat bran to ensure that it’s gluten-free certified.
When I originally developed the vegan bran muffins, I used all whole wheat pastry flour as my flour. Now, I prefer to use a mixture of all-purpose and whole wheat pastry (or white whole wheat) for a more tender texture.
You have options when it comes to the baking flour for the vegan bran muffins. You can use all-purpose, whole wheat pastry, light spelt, or a gluten-free all-purpose blend that you know and trust.
You can also do what I like to do, and use a mix of two parts all-purpose flour to one part whole grain flour. I think this is the best combo from a taste and texture perspective. But I’ve made the muffins many times with entirely whole grain flour, and they still turn out nicely.
One of the many reasons that I love baking muffins is that they’re low-key, as far as baking projects go. Mix dry ingredients, mix wet ingredients, fold together, scoop, bake.
These apple vegan bran muffins are no exception. The only slightly unusual step here, for me, is that I add the chopped apple pieces to the dry ingredients. Usually I fold add-ins like fruit into the wet batter. However, I find that adding the apple pieces to the flour/bran mixture helps to keep the fruit evenly distributed.
You’ll also need to make a flax egg in the first step of the recipe. This is easy! Combine a tablespoon of ground flax meal with three tablespoons of warm water. Allow it to turn into something like gel while you proceed with the recipe, then add it to the wet ingredients.
The ground flax mixture will help to bind your muffins together, doing some of the work that eggs can accomplish in baking.
The apple vegan bran muffins can be stored at room temperature for up to three days. After that, I recommend freezing them to keep their freshness, but you can also store them for an additional two days in an airtight container in the fridge.
If you love these vegan bran muffins, or you’re a muffin person in general, here are a few more of my fall baking favorites:
It’s all well and good to snack on hummus or a snack bar or energy bites. But honestly, nothing beats the afternoon snack of a homemade muffin and a cup of coffee or tea. Nothing!
I love this nutritious option so much. Hope you’ll love the apple vegan bran muffins, too.
This post is sponsored by Domex Superfresh Growers. All opinions expressed are my own. Thank you for your support!