A little black dress is regarded as the must have fashion essential – uncomplicated and dependable, like these carrot and apple bran muffins. Outwardly they might seem plain, but they’re wholesome and delicious. I think of them as the LBD of the muffin world.
If you are a keen cook, you’ll know that a recipe doesn’t feel like a good fit until you’ve adjusted and played around with the ingredients. Cooking intuitively often leads to something surprisingly good. When baking, sticking to the rules is recommended for best results. There are rule breakers though, and thankfully this muffin recipe is one of them. I started making a version of this muffin 20 years ago and have over time swapped out and played with ingredients. This is now a house favourite.
The carrot and apple add a natural sweetness and helps to keep the muffin tender and moist. To avoid a heavy texture, use a combination of wholemeal and white spelt flour. Spelt flour is lower in gluten than regular wheat flour and has a higher nutritional value. It also adds a subtle nutty profile to both sweet and savoury bakes. It is available from most health food stores or whole food markets. I use Nature’s source or Fresh Earth spelt flour. Faithful to Nature stocks just about everything. You can order on-line. If you can’t find spelt flour, regular all-purpose cake flour will also do.
The muffin batter is stored in the fridge for at least 24 hours which allows time for the bran to absorb the milk and soften. It keeps really well for up to a week, which means you can have freshly baked muffins for school lunches, unexpected guests or morning tea. The nuts and raisins are optional but really good. You could add blueberries just before baking or perhaps a combination of dried fruits such as dates and apricots.
Carrot and apple bran muffins
- 180g brown sugar
- 100ml coconut or vegetable oil
- 150g finely All-bran flakes, crushed
- 45ml (3 Tbls) oat bran
- 150g wholemeal flour
- 150g white flour or white spelt flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 12ml bicarbonate of soda
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups low-fat milk
- 1 apple, peeled and grated
- 1 large carrot, finely grated
- 60g chopped pecan nuts
- 80g raisins (optional)
- In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, coconut oil and crushed bran flakes. Add the wheat germ, oat bran, flours, cinnamon, salt and bicarbonate of soda. Stir together until the flour is evenly distributed. The mixture will have a rough, crumbly texture.
- Whisk the eggs lightly, just enough to break up the yolks and add this to the dry ingredients together with the vanilla, then the milk, followed by the grated apple and carrot. Give the batter a final mix and pour into a Tupperware. Place in the refrigerator to rest overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 180° C. Line a muffin tin with paper cup liners. Add the pecans and raisins to the batter and stir through. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tins. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Allow to rest for several minutes in the tins before placing on a wire rack to cool.
- On cooling, the muffins will have a crunchy top, but this will soften when stored. These muffins will keep well for at least 2-3 days and can be placed in a hot oven for 5 minutes to crisp up the tops, if you like.