Addictive Bran Muffins with "Birdseed" Topping

Folks, we have a situation around here. It’s not dire like say, the no-end-in-sight government shut down that’s affecting thousands of workers and their families (don’t even get me started, I do have some perspective) but it’s enough that I feel I want to bring it up this middle-of-January, Monday morning. Guys, we are in a breakfast rut. Simply put, the weekday morning meal in this house has become downright boring. It’s not that it’s not tasty—it is—but the toast, cereal, eggs, yogurt thing has gotten old and I think it’s making life less fun. And we all need more fun, maybe now more than ever. But I wanted to still keep it fairly healthy, especially since it’s the new year and all…. (cue the talent) thus these Addictive Bran Muffins with “Birdseed Topping”. I wish I had invented these myself but the fact is that they come from one of my favorite cookbooks (and bakeries) Flour. I knew I could count on it to help me out and boy, did it come through big time! Guys, these are aptly named. We can’t stop eating them!!


I’ve never been particularly enamored of bran muffins. The ones I’ve tasted in the past have always been kind of heavy and “healthy” tasting—like you stepped into a health food store and not in a good way. Not so for these beauties. Though they’re full of fiber, they still manage to be light and fluffy, yet hearty and satisfying. And while they’re plenty sweet enough, the sweetness mainly comes from the golden raisins, not because there’s a whole lot of added sugar, so they feel entirely breakfasty—y’know what I mean?


This muffin is for the birds, but not for the birds, ha ha! The very avian-friendly, “birdseed” topping, which is really just a super easy mix of millet, flaxseeds and sunflower seeds that gets sprinkled on the muffins right before you bake them, adds loads of flavor and CRUNCH and goes a long way in making these so addictive!


Getting out of bed on cold, dark mornings is a whole lot easier when you know these muffins are waiting for you!


These delightful muffins have definitely helped us over our breakfast rut. If only all the other craziness could be solved just as easily! Have a good Monday!


Addictive Bran Muffins with “Birdseed” Topping

Makes about 14-16 muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes (plus 30 minutes soaking time); Baking Time: 35-40 minutes


  • 2 1/2 cups (200 grams) wheat bran

  • 1 1/4 cups (300 grams) milk (you can use any kind)

  • 1 3/4 cups (420 grams) créme fraiche or sour cream

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 cup golden raisins

  • Hot water

  • 1/2 cup (110 grams) light brown sugar (packed)

  • 2 tablespoons molasses

  • 2 1/3 cups (330 grams) unbleached, all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) millet

  • 1/4 cup (40 grams) flaxseeds

  • 1/4 cup (30 grams) sunflower seeds

The Recipe

1. Make sure rack is centered in oven and preheat to 350ºF. Butter, spray or use paper liners for a standard muffin tin (the original recipe says it makes only 12 but I got 16, so if you have a second muffin tin use that or bake in two batches).

2. Place the bran, milk, créme fraiche and eggs in a medium bowl and stir together well to combine. In a separate small bowl, cover the raisins with hot water. Let both mixtures stand for 30 minutes. The raisins will plump up and soften and the bran mixture will rest and soak up some of the liquid.

3. After the resting period, add the brown sugar and molasses to the bran mixture and stir well. Drain the raisins in a colander and add them to the bowl. Stir well to mix. The mixture will be very wet and thick.

4. Place the flour, baking powder and soda and salt into a large bowl and whisk together well. Add the bran mixture to the flour mixture and use a rubber spatula to fold it all together until just combined—try not to over mix or the muffins will be dense instead of light and airy. The batter will be very thick.

5. Portion the batter out evenly among the muffin cups, filling them all the way to the top. Mix the millet, flaxseeds and sunflower seeds together in a small bowl and sprinkle on the tops of all the muffins.

6. Bake the muffins for 35-40 minutes, until muffin tops are golden brown and spring back when you press on them with your finger. Let cool for at least 20 minutes in the pan on a wire rack and then remove to cool fully. These will keep well wrapped at room temperature for several days or freeze them for up to one month and reheat directly from the freezer in a 350ºF oven for a few minutes until hot.


Note: Recipe adapted from Flour by Joanne Chang. I subbed sour cream for half of the créme fraiche because I ran out-I think it would be fine with all sour cream.

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