For my birthday, my mother sent me some bakeware and accessories from the Pampered Chef stoneware collection. I LOVE getting things for the kitchen as presents – a few Christmas’ back, Jo got me an outstanding set of cookware, and big brother got me a set of Wusthof Classic knives. It couldn’t have been a better Xmas if I had won a bizillion dollars, for which I would spend a great deal on kitchen stuff! But I digress…one of the gifts for this birthday was a mini-loaf stoneware pan which I have been wanting for some time now. Last night I wanted to make bran muffins, and then remembered that today (the 11th) is National Blueberry Muffin Day. So I grabbed a bag of blueberries and decided to make blueberry bran muffins. When I went to fill my muffin pan with liners, I was about 6 liners short! I didn’t want to go to the store just for muffin liners, and that’s when I remembered my gift! Ah, ha ha! Blueberry Bran Mini Loaves!! I was so excited at this notion. Plus, I have been on a mission to recreate the vegan bran muffins Jo and I would eat in Albuquerque from the hippie Coop. And I think I’ve done it!! Or at the very least, come up with an acceptable substitute that is pretty close to the real thing. This recipe is a combined adaptation from several I found on other websites (some not vegan), which I veganized and reduced the gluten levels (but not to 0 for you celiacs..) by using oat instead of wheat. Makes 12 muffins or 4 mini loaves.
3 C oat bran
1.25 C oat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp (12g) baking soda
1 tsp (6g) baking powder
1/2 tsp (4g) salt
2 TBSP flaxseed + 1/2 C warm water
2/3 C (5oz by weight/156g) almond milk (or other alternative of choice)
2/3 C (5.5 oz/156g) soy yogurt
1/3 C (2.25 oz/65g) canola oil
1/3 C (3.75 oz/108g) molasses (or cane syrup)
1/3 C (3.75 oz/108g) agave nectar
1 tsp (6g) vanilla extract
1/2 C mini blueberries (typically found frozen, thaw before using) – but feel free to use fresh normal size blueberries too, this is just what I had on hand
1. Place oven rack in middle of oven and heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a standard size muffin pan or mini loaf pan (I use canola oil) or line the muffin tin with paper liners (which makes cleaning up a breeze).
2. Combine oat bran, oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl and set aside. Combine warm water and flaxseed, set aside. Combine milk, yogurt, canola oil, molasses, and nectar in a small bowl and mix well. (Note: you can use all nectar or all molasses instead if desired.) Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, including the flaxseed mixture, and mix with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon just until combined.
3. Generously fill muffin cups/mini loaf pan with batter. Bake about 20 minutes. Turn heat down to 325, cover with foil, and continue to cook an additional 8-10 min, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool muffins in pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then carefully remove from pan and serve warm, or let cool on a wire rack.
Enjoy them plain, drizzled with a little nectar, or spread with peanut butter and a slather of your favorite jam. Store muffins in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze.
Variations: I think next time I’m going to add about a 1/2-1 C of shredded carrot!! Mmm… Other variations could include the addition of vegan chocolate chips, any other shredded veg like zucchini, any other type of fruit like raspberries or blackberries, addition of various other spices and drizzling with a glaze or even Jo’s Cashew Raspberry Icing to sweeten these up a bit..the possibilities are endless!
*Note: Using oat bran and oat flour reduces the amount of gluten – relative as if you used wheat bran and wheat flour, which is always an option if you so choose. You could do a 50/50 ratio of wheat and oat bran, and a 50/50 ratio of wheat and oat flour. I don’t, however, have any idea how this could be made 100% gluten-free..alas.