When my mother was in the hospital for bypass surgery a few years ago, in the waiting room was a rack of information about heart health, including some recipes. I picked up sheet of recipes using flax, both seeds and meal. One of the recipes was for Heart Healthy Bran Muffins.
I’ve made the recipe a few times over the years and it’s pretty good. Lately, however, I’ve been on a bit of a healthy eating kick. No, that’s not really correct. I’ve changed my eating habits. I needed to lose a few pounds for the sake of my health and well-being and I’ve been discovering all sorts of new-to-me foods, foods that are good for you and taste pretty darned good!
With those discoveries, I’ve taken the bran muffin recipe and “amped” it up a bit, in the process creating an even healthier, and tastier in my opinion, bran muffin. You’ll notice that there are some unusual ingredients in these muffins. I found flax seeds, chia seeds, buckwheat groats, hemp hearts and the vital gluten at my local bulk store (it’s a pretty good bulk store, I must say!). If you can’t find them, check with your local health food store. As for the vital gluten, I added it only because I used 100% whole wheat flour. Feel free to substitute white flour and omit the gluten, if you wish. The gluten was added only to help with the rising.
All of the ingredients have been chosen for their health benefits; some of them even qualify as super foods. The buckwheat groats, incidentally, are not pre-cooked before being added to the muffins, as I’ve seen in some recipes. I like the nutty crunch of the seeds in the muffins. As far as the fruits and nuts are concerned, feel free to substitute whatever you like. I just happened to have dried cranberries and prunes in my kitchen cupboard; I was out of raisins. You could add frozen blueberries, raisins, chopped dried apricots, grated apples or carrots (both of those were in the original recipe). I used pecans, but you could substitute chopped walnuts or leave the nuts out completely.
I should add that these are not your donut shop, cakey bran muffins. These are a fairly substantial muffin. Each muffin is about 180 calories (without the butter), but they’re 180 very healthy calories!
THE Healthiest Bran Muffins You’ll Ever Eat!
- 1 cup oat bran
- 1/2 cup wheat germ
- 1/2 cup flax meal (use a coffee grinder to grind flax seeds – it’s healthier than buying pre-ground flax meal)
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tbsp. vital gluten
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1-2 tsp cinnamon (to taste)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 tbsp buckwheat groats
- 1/4 cup hemp hearts
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries (craisins)
- 1/2 cup chopped dried prunes
- 1 cup milk
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp oil of choice (I used olive, but feel free to substitute your favourite)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cups.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, blending well. In a small mixing bowl, blend all the wet ingredients. Make a well in the dry ingredients, and pour in the wet ingredients. Blend until the dry ingredients are just moistened.
Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full and bake at 350º for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry. Cook on a wire rack. (Makes 18)