As you’ve probably noticed from my growing list of recipes, I’m completely intrigued by Kim Boyce’s book, Good to the Grain. I’ve never encountered a cookbook like it. And what I mean is, I’ve never had a cookbook leave this sort of lasting intrigue before. Sure, I love my cookbooks, and I return to them again and again. But this is the first one I can’t seem to put in the bookshelf for more than a week. Before long, usually whenever I have a sweet craving, I find myself pulling her out, opening her up, and delving into another of her recipes. Or return to one I’ve already tried, like this one
or this one
and I come back to this one ALL the time. It’s the perfect chocolate chip cookie.
I think the intrigue continues because I know so little about the flours she’s using. Ever recipe I read of hers I think, I really don’t know what that’s going to taste like. And that’s quite unusual for me, a veteran cookbook reader. In fact, mostly I read cookbooks like their defacto meals. Sometimes I even feel physically full once I’ve read enough and completely lose the desire to cook… and get takeaway instead. Ok so, that makes me lazy not full, but you know what I mean.
All this to say, here’s another great recipe from Kim Boyce’s book! Molasses bran muffins featuring amaranth flour and prune jam. They are beyond doubt the best bran muffins I’ve ever tasted.
Kim Boyce’s Molasses Bran Muffins
- 1/2 cup prune jam[/element] [element]1 1/2 cups wheat bran
- 1/2 cup amaranth flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 cup molasses or golden syrup
- 3 tbsp unsalted or unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp finely grated orange zest (the zest from a little over 1 large orange. Make sure they’re unwaxed)
Preheat the oven to 170C (350F) and put the oven tray in the centre of the oven. Butter a 12 hole, 1/3 cup capacity muffin tin. Kim Boyce suggests using a 24 cup muffin tin and only filling every second cup, but I don’t have an oven big enough for this type of tin. In general, muffins will cook more evenly if you can do this, but I didn’t find this particular muffin cooked too unevenly the usual way.
Heat the buttermilk in a small pan until just lukewarm and no warmer (otherwise, it might separate) and then pour over the wheat bran and stir to moisten. Put is aside to soften while you get on with everything else.
Mix the prune jam with the molasses, melted butter, egg and orange zest in a medium size bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together the amaranth flour, whole wheat flour, dark brown sugar, baking soda, kosher salt and cinnamon. Pour any large grainy bits left in the sieve back into the bowl and whisk the whole lot together to combine.
Mix the softened wheat bran into the prune jam mixture and combine well with a spoon. Then make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and plop the wet mixture in all at once. Mix gently together with a wooden spoon until just combined.
If you have a 12 hole muffin tin, fill all the muffin cups until they’re all slightly heaped. If you have a 24 hole muffin tin, fill 14 or 15 of them til they’re just full. I think this latter way would work well, as these muffins don’t really rise much and the lip they form around the edge of each muffin hole makes them kind of hard to get out. (It does turn lovely and crunchy though, so you choose, ease or crunch, ease or crunch…)
Put in the preheated oven and bake for 15 mins, then turn the tray around 180degrees and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops of the muffins are just starting to brown up.
At this point, take the muffin tin out of the oven and let them sit in a breezy spot for 5 minutes while they harden up a little, before twisting each muffin out of the tray and sitting them sideways to cool (this stops their bottoms from getting soggy).
Serve with butter and prune jam. Kim says they’re better the next day, and even the day after that, but I think they’re amazing hot out of the oven. You decide.