Pear Fig Chia Bran Muffins. It may be a mouthmfull, but believe me you don’t want to leave any of it out!
Over the years – and after countless baking experiments (successes and oh so many failures), I’ve been able to accumulate a few tips and tricks that I now use each time I turn on the oven.
BAKING TIP #1: Set your oven 50 degrees higher than what the recipe calls for (375F turns to 425F). Bake at this temperature for 5 minutes, and then without opening the oven door, turn the temperature down to what was originally instructed (and bake for remainder of the allotted time). The intense heat at the start of the baking process gives all the chemical reactions a quick kick in the butt, expanding the air pockets and creating more space to rise. This results in a taller, heightened muffin – closer to what you see in a bakery or cafe.
BAKING TIP #2: If the recipe calls for buttermilk, but you are either vegan or do not have any in your fridge (because let’s be real – buying a whole carton for one recipe stinks), add an acidic medium to your milk of choice. I tend to use almond milk for all my baking, so I add 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar per 1/4 cup milk. Let the mix sit for atleast 10 minutes. The slightly acidic environment reacts with baking soda to create more CO2, therefore again, creating more space to expand and rise (this is why you see buttermilk called for in recipes that also call for baking soda). It is merely the acidity of buttermilk that creates an improved texture and leavening of baking, so why not create it yourself?
BAKING TIP#3: Buy (unsweetened) applesauce in individual containers, rather than the larger jars (unless of course you think you will go through it all). I, for one, never go through a whole jar before it goes bad, and each little container is equivalent to about 1/2 cup which makes for a super easy grab for most recipes.
BAKING TIP #4: Whisk eggs or egg whites suuuper well. Make this the last of your wet ingredients and do this right before you are ready to mix the wet in with the dry. Whisking those suckers until they are very frothy – you guessed it – creates more air bubbles and makes for a fluffier consistency.
And now, how about we put all these tips and tricks to good use in a new muffin recipe!?
I first made these pear fig chia bran muffins years ago – when I first fell in love with figs – but it was Kate’s pear chia baked oatmeal that got me craving them again. This, and my rarely appeased love for bran muffins. I feel like maybe bran is a love or hate kind of ingredient. Ya? I used to think of bran muffins as the “old person’s” muffin. But I swear, there is no better type of muffin to heat up and spread with butter than one made with bran. Mmm butter my muffin.
My chia bran muffin.
If you haven’t discovered the glorious combination of fig and pear, you have just got to get on it. Add in some chia seeds and you’re in for an explosion of textures in every bite.
These chia bran muffins are healthy and chalk full of magnesium and iron, thanks to the molasses and bran. They are sweetened only with the figs, banana and molasses – which gives them an extra hit of comfort.
Bran + pear + molasses…. gah. Just the thought of it makes me want to curl up on my couch with a blanket and TV show and knit. If I could knit, that is. Okay so maybe these are an old person muffin. Whatever. I’m a grandma at heart. Make these pear fig chia bran muffins and you won’t care!!
1 1/2 cups wheat bran
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup buttermilk OR milk of choice (I use almond milk) + 1 tsp apple cider vingegar (left to sit for 10 minutes)
4 egg whites (1/4 cup)
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1 pear, diced
5-6 dried figs, diced
Preheat oven to 425F.
If dried figs are hard, pour a little hot water over top and let them sit for 5-10 minutes before chopping. If not using real buttermilk, add 1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar to milk in a small bowl and set aside for 10 minutes.
Combine all dry ingredients.
Mash banana, mix with apple sauce, molasses and “buttermilk.” Whisk egg whites very well, until frothy, and add to rest of wet ingredients. Stir well.
Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in wet ingredients, and combine until all is moist. Add in diced pear and figs and gently fold in. Do not over store.
Pour into 12 greased or lined muffin cups, filling to the top.
Bake at 425F for 5 minutes, then without opening oven door, set temperature down to 375F. Bake for a remaining 20-25 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
Are you a bran fan?
Any baking tips to add to the list?