HELLO! Well, wow. It’s been awhile. It seems I had a kid (!) and everything else (cooking, writing, showering…) fell by the wayside. I’m officially one of those people. Yikes.
But! Lest you think all you’re going to find here is a terrible iPhone picture of a pretty delicious muffin, I’d like to introduce you to someone:
OH hi there! This is Calder. He’s my son and I’m keeping him forever. Incidentally, he’s also a pretty delicious muffin.
I’m still trying to figure out exactly how much of the little guy I want to put out there on the internet, but let’s start here. Calder likes: fresh air, hiccups, the sound of the vacuum cleaner, midnight snacks, bouncing. Dislikes: long car rides, crib naps, wearing socks.
Though I’ve not spent much time in the kitchen, the past three months (three months already! bah.) with this little man have been the most delicious ever – so thanks for bearing with my absence around here.
Before Calder was born, I loaded up my freezer with a few simple meals and snacks (including this soup and these meatballs) that I knew I’d want around post baby, and these muffins proved an excellent call. Parading under the guise of good health (I mean, bran muffins), these are light and tender crumbed cakes packed to the gills with sweet fruit and rich molasses flavor.
In the early days when the babe needed to eat every five seconds (or so it seemed), leaving me ravenous at all hours, my nighttime routine included pulling two (or, uh, three) of these muffins from the freezer and setting them by my bedside — they’d thaw just in time for that first, late night nursing session, and I’d descend hungrily on the things after my sweet boy had gotten his fill (of milk, not muffins… little guy didn’t know what he was missing).
I’ve made a few batches since the first to restock the coffers, as it were, and served them, warm from the oven and slathered with butter, to last-minute brunch guests (instead of shoveling them in my mouth at 2am, say), but these muffins will always remind me of those first few amazing, exhausting, terrifying and exhilarating weeks with Calder.
Sour Cream Bran Muffins
Adapted from Gourmet, October 1991
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temp
- 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup dark molasses
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup miller’s bran (available at natural foods stores, specialty foods shops, and some supermarkets – also sometimes called wheat bran)
- 1 cup chopped dried fruit (I like a mix of apricots and figs)
- Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 400°F, with a rack in the center position. Grease or line a standard, 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or paper liners.
In a large bowl (or bowl of stand mixer), cream the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat to incorporate. Add the sour cream, vanilla and molasses, stirring until just combined.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and miller’s bran. Add this dry mix to the wet, and stir until a lumpy but homogenous batter comes together. Fold in the dried fruit.
Divide the batter between the muffin tins, filling each almost to the top. Scatter about a half teaspoon of turbinado sugar on top of each muffin. Bake the muffins for 15-20 minutes, until a tester inserted into the biggest one comes out clean.
Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes before turning them out. Enjoy warm or at room temperature! (Muffins will keep, well-wrapped, at room temp for a few days, or in the freezer for a few months — just warm the frozen muffins in the toaster, or in a 350°F oven, before eating.)