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posted: 3/3/2010 12:01 AM

Brawny Bran Muffins

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½

cup unsweetened applesauce

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1 cup dark raisins

½

cup golden raisins

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

½

cup plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour (not bread flour)

teaspoons baking soda

1 tablespoon baking powder

teaspoons ground cinnamon

½

teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼

teaspoon kosher salt

½

cup canola oil

¼

cup clover honey (or other mild honey)

cups dark brown sugar, firmly packed

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups low-fat buttermilk

3/4 cup toasted wheat germ

1 cup wheat bran (not the cereal)

Place a wire mesh strainer over a bowl sufficiently deep to keep strainer's bottom from touching the bowl's bottom and add the applesauce. Set aside.

Put raisins in a medium bowl; add scalding water and set aside to plump 10-15 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk all-purpose and whole wheat flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg together until well combined; set aside.

Measure 1/4 cup drained applesauce. To a large mixing bowl add applesauce, oil, honey, brown sugar and vanilla and whisk together. Whisk in eggs, until combined and then whisk in buttermilk, wheat germ, and bran. Let batter rest 10 minutes.

Whisk dry ingredients into wet mixture until partially mixed and then continue mixing batter with a large rubber spatula, in an over-and-under folding motion. until all the ingredients are incorporated into the batter. Fold in raisins.

Cover batter bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (It's even better chilled overnight.)

Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and uncover.

Place the oven rack in the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place 20 foil cup liners into 2, 12-cup muffin pans. Lightly spray each liner with vegetable oil.

Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups filling each one to the brim. Fill the remaining empty muffin cups about 3/4 full with water (this helps the muffins to bake evenly).

Bake until muffin tops brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out cleanly with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, about 25 minutes. Let muffins cool in pan for 5 minutes, and then transfer them to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 20.

@Recipe nutrition:Nutrition values per muffin: 241 calories (27.2 percent from fat), 7.3 g fat (0.9 g saturated), 40.2 g carbohydrate, 3.2 g fiber, 5.4 g protein, 33 mg cholesterol, 284 mg sodium.

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