The whole family will love these deliciously healthy Knotty Pine Bran Muffins! They are a fabulous way to sneak some goodness into your kids – and any adults who might need a little encouragement to eat a healthy breakfast.
And this, my friends, is a healthy breakfast with a history!
The Story Behind The Recipe
When I was a little girl in Canada, there was a restaurant in Preston, Ontario (now part of the Tri-cities known as Cambridge) called The Knotty Pine. They had a lunch counter and restaurant upstairs, and later they added a fairly formal steak house downstairs.
I still remember the first time my parents took me there. I must have been about nine, and I felt so grown up! They had a fish pond, a totem pole, and even a big statue of a bull. The kitchen had large windows and you could watch the chefs cooking while you sat at candlelit tables.
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My Dad preferred the more relaxed atmosphere upstairs, and he used to stop at the lunch counter at least once a week for a midmorning coffee and one of the Knotty Pine’s famous bran muffins. Knotty Pine Bran Muffins were well known as the best muffins in town. Once in a while, Dad would bring a half a dozen of the muffins home for a treat. We all loved them. They were seriously, seriously yummy, and full to the brim with sweet raisins.
My Dad was friendly with the owner of the Knotty Pine and the chef, and one day he came home with the secret recipe for our very favourite Bran Muffins. My Mom and I were delighted and I’ve been making them ever since. The original Knotty Pine closed over 25 years ago, but these muffins always bring back wonderful memories of my late parents and my first ‘fancy’ restaurant.
One of the Classics from The Blog
I first shared this recipe in 2005 and 2013 on an older incarnation of the blog. I wanted to feature this recipe again with new photographs as it’s just too delicious to leave tucked back in the archives.
Seriously, you need to make these. My Bran Muffins are so good you won’t even notice they are healthy!
Just How Healthy Are Bran Muffins?
Bran is high in fibre, protein, iron, vitamins and minerals. It’s also low in fat. Be sure to use pure wheat bran in this recipe, not bran cereal.
Knotty Pine bran muffins called for ‘vegetable oil’ but I use mild olive oil. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids – or good fats.
I use raisins or sultanas in this recipe. They are a source of iron, fibre, vitamins and minerals. If you want to you can always soak the raisins in a bit of hot water while you make the muffins. The original recipe recommended you do that, but I find most raisins are quite juicy these days so I usually skip that step.
There’s also quite a lot of cinnamon in these yummy muffins. Spices are good for you, and cinnamon is no exception. It’s full of antioxidants, it’s anti-inflammatory, and is even reputed to boost immunity.
Can I Reduce the Sugar In This Recipe?
Originally this recipe had a whole cup of packed brown sugar but I’ve gradually cut that back. Three quarters of a cup of brown sugar, loosely packed, is perfect if you prefer a sweeter muffin. However I now make the recipe with a half a cup of loosely packed brown sugar all the time.
So, I’m happy to report that on the whole, bran muffins really are pretty good for you!! But it’s the part about how good they taste that I like best!
Can you Freeze Bran Muffins?
Bran muffins will keep in a covered container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days, but you can definitely freeze them. When our son was still at home I used to make a double batch and freeze them so I could have them on hand. I’d even tuck them in lunch boxes to keep things cold and thaw throughout the morning – although I do prefer to warm the muffins if they have been frozen. I put them in a warm oven for about 4 or 5 minutes but 20 seconds in a microwave works too.
Old Fashioned Knotty Pine Bran Muffins – Printable Recipe
- ¾ cup brown sugar The original recipe calls for one cup (200 grams) of brown sugar, which is a lot! I normally only use half a cup of brown sugar (100 grams) but three quarters of a cup (150 grams) is a good middle ground too.
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup vegetable oil I use mild olive oil for health reasons but any mild vegetable oil (such as sunflower oil) will work.
- 2 cups bran
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk Buttermilk gives the best results, but you can use ordinary milk if you prefer. Pouring yogurt works as well.
- 1 cup raisins or sultanas You can also use less if you prefer or leave them out entirely. I generally use a bit less than this.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C or 180°C for a fan oven).
- Grease or put paper liners in a 12 cup muffin pan.
- Beat eggs in a large bowl.
- Add brown sugar and oil. Mix well.
- Sir in bran and cinnamon.
- Let the mixture stand for ten minutes.
- Meanwhile, sift together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.
- Add the flour mixture to the bran mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Do this in four additions - two of the flour mixture and two of the buttermilk, ending with the buttermilk.
- Fold in the raisins.
- Fill muffin cups half full with batter.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
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