Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Applesauce Bran Muffins

We go through a lot of applesauce at our house. We eat it just as it is and I bake with it.  In baking, it can be substituted for part (or even all) of the oil in many recipes. It can also replace milk, water, or other liquids in a batter, adding flavour and—of course—nutrition to many old standards.

If you’re adapting recipes to include applesauce, here are some simple guidelines: 
  • Applesauce can be used in most cake and muffin batters to replace some or all of the fat called for in the recipe.  If you are replacing the fat entirely, simply use an equivalent amount of applesauce.  If you’re using a combination of applesauce and fat, the combined measurement should equal the amount of fat originally called for in the recipe.
  • Using applesauce instead of fat in a muffin or cake recipe will affect the texture of the finished product, making it less tender but still moist and flavourful.  
  •   Applesauce should rarely works well as a substitute for fat in cookie recipes. 
  •  If you are replacing water or another liquid in a recipe with applesauce, use between 1-1/3 and 1-1/2 the quantity called for in the recipe. 
  •  Using applesauce in a recipe will make the batter more acidic.  If your recipe does not call for baking soda, you’ll want to replace 1/3 to 1/2 of the baking powder called for in the recipe with baking soda.
My bran muffin recipe uses applesauce to add both flavour and moisture to the finished product.  It keeps well, actually becoming more moist over a couple of days, and it freezes well too.  I usually leave half the recipe out to eat fresh and freeze the other half for later.

You’ll need the following ingredients to make applesauce muffins:

  • 1-1/2 cups wheat bran
  • 1-1/2 cups applesauce (Mine is dark pink because I cook the apples with the skins on and, purée them for the sauce, and then cook them down like apple butter, but regular applesauce works just fine too.)
  • 1/3 cup oil (I used canola oil.)
  •  1 egg 
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed 
  •  1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  •  1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  •  1 teaspoon baking powder 
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt 
  •  3/4 cup raisins, soaked in hot water until they plump and then drained
In a large bowl, combine the bran, applesauce, and oil.  Beat the egg and add it too, along with the vanilla.  Stir the bran mixture until it’s very well combined and then let it stand for 15 minutes.

While the bran mixture is standing, grease your muffin tin (this recipe makes 12 good-sized muffins) and preheat your oven to 350˚F.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Add the raisins to the dry mixture, tossing them gently with your fingers so that they’re coated.  This will help keep the raisins suspended in the batter; preventing them from sinking to the bottom of the muffins as they bake.

Add the dry ingredients to the bran mixture and stir the two together just until combined.  It doesn’t matter if a little dry flour still shows on the raisins. 

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them quite full.

Bake the muffins in the center of the oven for about 25 minutes, until the top center of the muffin springs back when lightly touched.  Let the muffins rest in the pan for at least 10 minutes before serving them. 

If you’re not going to serve the muffins right away, turn them out of the pan after 10 minutes and let them cool on a wire rack.  Once they’re completely cooled, store them in an airtight container.

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