When my five-year-old grandson came from Texas to visit and asked if he could help make the muffins, of course I was delighted. Another cook in the family!. Muffins are kid friendly; you just need a couple of bowls and a spatula. I had blueberries from our garden; supplemented with some from the store and was making blueberry muffins with bran flakes added in.
Growing Blueberries in Louisiana
Blueberries are one of the fruit bushes/trees that grow well in Louisiana. Fruits such as apples, cherries and peaches need a dormant, cold winter to grow and our climate doesn’t suit these fruits. Blueberries are native to North America and the variety grown here are cultivated or highbush blueberries as opposed to wild blueberries or low bush blueberries. Blueberries should be planted In a sunny location and well drained soil. It is actually best to plant the bushes in the winter or spring. They get to be quite large bushes. The berries are large, juicy and aromatic. Blueberries ripen in May and June. My only difficulty is the sparrows who like blueberries. too. Some years I’ll get energetic and put netting over the bushes; this slows the birds down. Other years, I’ll just share the fruit.
Health Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries are low in calories, high in fiber, Vitamin C and manganese. Blueberries are high in phytonutrients, especially anthocyanins which give blueberries their deep blue and purple colors.. These chemicals are antioxidants and have received much of research interest for their anti-antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which protect against heart disease and other chronic diseases. Blueberries have been studied in relationship to improving memory and improving insulin resistance for those with diabetes mellitus.
Muffins are easy to make. Just combine the dry ingredients, pour in the liquids and barely stir. Muffins are sort of the opposite of yeast bread and rolls. The idea is to stir as little as possible so that the gluten does not develop which makes the muffins tough. The dough should be lumpy with dry ingredients still present. I sift the flour, baking powder and salt together so that they are evenly mixed. Bake the muffins in a hot oven.
Blueberry Bran Flake Muffins
I found a recipe for muffins with bran flakes added to the batter in my old recipe files. Bran flakes increases the fiber and nutritional value of the muffins. The bran flakes also add a little crunch and flavor. Here are the dry ingredients.
Bran absorbs moisture, so I increased the liquid (milk) in the recipe. Because of this, we had to stir the batter more than usual and the resulting batter was more like cupcake consistency than chunky.
Orange zest is optional. If gives the muffins a little hint of a fruity flavor and complements the bran and blueberries.
Kids Can Cook
Kids have different interests; my five-year-old grandson was very interested in
what was going on and was complete a task by himself. Muffins do not involved an electric mixer, knives or a stove. Great for young kids. I measured everything out and he was able to stir the dry ingredients and pour the batter into the individual muffin tins on his own. Plus it was a short task-no time to get bored.
Here are the muffins; ready for the oven.
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Blueberry Bran Flake Muffins
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp non-aluminum baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup bran flakes
- 1 tsp orange zest (optional) – from a fresh orange
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup margarine, melted (or vegetable oil)
- 1 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 pint (2 cups) blueberries, washed and picked over
Instructions and Steps
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place cupcake liners into 2 1/2 inch cupcake or muffin tins — 15 to 18 liners.
- Sift flour, baking powder and salt into large mixing bowl. Stir to make sure baking powder and salt is evenly distributed in the flour.
- Add sugar and bran flakes and optional orange zest and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Crack eggs into another medium size bowl, and whisk to beat the eggs until smooth.
- Add melted margarine and milk and gently stir to combine.
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour the liquids into the well. With a spatula, gently stir and fold the liquids into the flour. Do not over stir- there should still be clumps of flour and bran flakes.
- Pour the blueberries into the batter and stir one or two more times to combine.
- Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, fill the muffin liners to 3/4 full (or more). This should make 15 to 18 muffins. Add water to the bottom of any empty muffin tins.
- Bake in 400 degree oven for 20 – 25 minutes until brown on top.
- Remove from oven, cool to handle and remove muffins from baking tins. Best when served hot.
Original Recipe. Beyondgumbo.com
We filled the muffin tins to the top — it made 15 muffins. If the liner was filled 3/4 full, the yield would be 18 muffins. Here are the finished muffins.