PJ doesn’t eat ice cream…or cake…or chocolate. And when it comes to cookies, only a vanilla wafer will do. You can lower your eyebrows now. We’ve already come to terms with it.

In the world of sweet treats, my child’s palate is limited to a small group of tan and yellow options, most of which wouldn’t typically be considered indulgent confections. Cornbread. Graham crackers. Nilla Wafers. If Babe is in town, he’s even known to request popcorn for dessert. Don’t ask.

And then there are bran muffins. He loves them. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. Think about it. If cornbread, graham crackers and Nilla wafers had a baby, it’s name would be Bran Muffin. Perhaps that’s a bit of a stretch. Then again…

bran_muffins_completeThere are so many recipes out there for bran muffins. Seriously, the ingredients have more
substitutions than an NBA game. Some use plain milk. A few call for buttermilk. And a couple don’t require milk at all, opting for alternatives like sour cream, yogurt or apple sauce. The oil choices are a completely different conversation altogether. Butter, vegetable oil and shortening are among the most popular. Texture and moisture are the most important factors in muffins. This is especially true with bran muffins that come out the gate with dry cereal working against them. After a bit of experimenting, the combination I like best contains milk, sour cream and butter flavored shortening. I know shortening isn’t the healthiest thing you can use. But I think it’s fine as long as you aren’t downing tubs of the stuff everyday. Moderation, people. If it makes you feel better, you can substitute your point guard with butter instead.

If you want, play around with textures and flavors by adding walnuts or raisins.

Bran Muffins
Yields 12
These muffins are great for breakfast on-the-go. Add them to your continental breakfast or weekend brunch menu.
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
  1. 2 cups bran cereal
  2. 1 cup milk (2% or or whole)
  3. 1/4 cup sour cream
  4. 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  5. 1/4 cup butter flavored vegetable shortening, softened
  6. 1 large egg
  7. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  8. 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  9. a pinch of cinnamon (about 1/8 tsp)
  10. 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  11. 1 1/4 cup flour
  12. 1 tbs baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine milk and sour cream; stir.
  3. Add bran cereal to the milk.
  4. Soak the cereal in milk until cereal starts to soften, about 5 minutes.
  5. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  6. While the cereal softens, cream together shortening and brown sugar in a mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes or until evenly combined.
  7. Reduce the mixer speed to low; add egg, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon.
  8. Now reduce the mixer to stir setting. Slowly add flour mixture; mix until just combined.
  9. Scoop equal-sized portions of the batter into a muffin tin that has been greased and floured or lined with baking cups.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  1. Scrape the edges of the mixing bowl once or twice to make sure all the ingredients are evenly combined.
  2. Play around with textures and flavors by adding walnuts or raisins.
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