Naturally sweetened with dates, these 100% whole grain bran muffins are light, fluffy and absolutely delicious. Enhanced with vanilla and orange, this recipe is flavorful and flexible—stir in nuts, fresh blueberries, dried raisins, or dried cherries for different variations.
1 cup pitted and chopped dates (8–9 dates)
¾ cup fresh orange juice
1 ½ cups original bran cereal (3½ ounces), such as All-Bran
¾ cup whole-wheat pastry flour (3½ ounces)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon table salt
½ cup coconut oil
½ cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons molasses
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon minced fresh orange zest
½ cup chopped toasted walnuts
Preheat oven to 350. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
Spread bran on a baking sheet in an even layer and toast in oven for six, stirring halfway through; let cool.
Bring dates and orange juice to a simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce to medium-low and cook until juice has been absorbed, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, process bran cereal in a food processor until finely ground into a flour. Add toasted bran flakes, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; process to combine.
Transfer cooked dates to a food processor or blender with coconut oil and puree; transfer to a bowl. Whisk buttermilk, eggs, molasses, vanilla, and zest into date mixture until combined.
Add bran mixture to date mixture and mix just until combined. Fold in walnuts. Scoop batter into muffin liners. Bake muffins until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool muffins in pan 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
If you are watching your fat/ oil intake, feel free to sub part (no more than half) or the oil with applesauce.