During the winter months it’s common for me to make at least one batch of long-term muffins. Sometimes it will be traditional Bran Muffin, other times it will be the Raisin Bran or a multi grain muffin. When I call a muffin ‘long-term’ it means the dough holds in the refrigerator. Usually this is for a period of 4-6 weeks. The chances of lasting 2 weeks is questionable at our home.
Making a large batch of muffins is also a grand idea for ‘Valentine’s Day’. Treat the neighbors to a plate of muffins for something different this year. Or bake a large amount for the office. Talk someone else into bringing fruit, and yet another for the juice and napkins, then poof a celebration is formed. The boss might promote you to a new position when your abilities are unleased! You may also turn someone else’s day into something that’s both positive and encouraging.
Fascinating how the kitchen & cooking works, isn’t it? During my writing career I have constantly emphasized the importance of the ‘family dining table’. This is where it happens for spouses, families, grandparents, students. We start showing our love by preparing foods for those we love. Then it spirals into so much more. The impromptu situation provides the window of advocacy for all kinds of scenarios. It’s an atmosphere where souls become relaxed and open to listening and expressing. Sometimes it takes many batches of cookies, breads and muffins before we get to that last sentence, but it’s a start!
With that said I’ll take off the counselor hat and return to the kitchen. Where it all starts! The ingredients for the muffins roll together with ease. Just mix the wet ingredients and then the dry and then combine the two. (Except for the raisin bran and buttermilk.) You will have to mix this recipe by hand, in a large bowl. A normal mixer will hold a maximum of around 7 cups of flour. This recipe definitely exceeds that amount. There’s also less chance of over-beating the batter, if you stir the recipe by hand. For the big raisin lovers you could consider adding additional plumped raisins. Soak them the night before in apple juice or water. I also have not mentioned the use of any pecans or English Walnuts in this recipe. Who says they cannot be incorporated. Wow, there’s no cinnamon or nutmeg in this recipe. Oh yeah, I’d add some. On the cinnamon I’d go with a couple of teaspoons to a tablespoon.
Not to scare anyone off, but I’m even looking at a bit of coconut. Maybe those raisins I spoke about are not your favorite, OK, use the raisin bran with cranberries. There are 5 cups of flour in the recipe. You could bring in more fiber with different flours. Wheat germ or flax could work nicely. Before you change the glutens be sure and do your research because each flour absorbs liquid differently. The first time I altered the recipe I would stick with at least 3 cups of white flour and experiment with the remaining 2 cups.
Buttermilk, this is one time that I most always use the real thing. If it’s not feasible, you substitute with vinegar or lemon juice in milk. Sometimes I use part milk and part half & half when I do this. If you’ve never made this type of substitution chat about it with other cooks. There are lots of different opinions. IE: I use more vinegar or lemon juice than the norm.
Well my friends I think we did a pretty good job knocking this recipe down and analyzing different avenues. I didn’t say anything about the sugar! You could use some honey or sorghum, but if you do, use only half. Culinary always recommends leaving at least half of the sugar content in the original form. Artificial sweeteners, not going there. Those who must cook this way have their own preferences. Unfortunately these days my palate picks up on artificial substitutes quickly. YES, I eat them when presented, I just don’t say anything.
Have an amazing week. The Covered Dish, www.thecovereddish.com.
Raisin Bran Muffins
8 cups (20 ounces) Raisin Bran Cereal
3 cups sugar
5 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
5 teaspoons baking soda
2 sticks butter (1 cup), softened to melted
1 quart buttermilk
Optional 2-3 teaspoons cinnamon
Pour buttermilk over the cereal; allow to set while mixing the remaining ingredients. Mix wet ingredients together and combine with the dry. Lastly add the raisin bran mixture.
Recipe will keep in the refrigerator for 4-6 weeks in a plastic covered container. Makes approximately 5-6 dozen muffins. Bake at 400 degrees until muffins spring back. Often I just cook longer and bake at 350 degrees.
-Debbie Dance Uhrig