Bad News, Good News

Saturday, March 12, 2011
Which do you want to hear first – the good news or the bad news?

Actually, the good news won’t make much sense without the bad, so that’s where I’ll start.  I’ve decided to give up baking for Lent.

Every year, I try to forgo something that I love for the forty days leading up to Easter.  The purpose is to make a sacrifice that I’ll miss in my daily life.  Most years I go without dessert, or some subset of dessert.

This year I decided to do something slightly different.  I love baking, and not being able to do that for six weeks will be something I dearly miss.  (Note that we won’t be eating out every night, because cooking is still okay.)  I’m hoping the creativity that I normally pour into my baking can be funneled into writing instead.

Now here’s the good news.  I did a burst of baking just before Lent started, and I have more than enough recipes and photos to carry me through.

That didn’t prevent me, on the first day of Lent, from standing wistfully in the middle of the cookbook section of my local Chapters store, gazing at the forbidden recipes.  Mercifully, I was able to leave the store with my integrity intact.  But it makes me think the next month and a half will be difficult.

There was nothing difficult about these muffins.  They were the best bran muffins I’ve ever made.  They were moist and tasted delicious on their own, as well as with honey or jam.  Don’t miss the step of lowering the oven temperature as soon as you put the muffins in the oven.  That’s what gives them a nice crispy exterior without drying them out.

By the way, when one of our girls asked Andrew what he was giving up for Lent, he said “Your mother’s baking.”  What a hero.

Honey-Raisin Bran Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups wheat bran
1 ½ cups raisins
1/3 cup wheat germ
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup honey
1 cup plain yogurt
½ cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line 18 standard muffin cups with paper liners, or use silicon muffin tins. 

In a bowl, stir together the flour, bran, raisins, wheat germ, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and honey until fluffy.  Beat in the yogurt, then the buttermilk and vanilla, until well blended and smooth.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the creamed mixture and the eggs.  Beat just until evenly moistened.  The batter will be thick and slightly lumpy.  Do not overmix.

Spoon the batter into each muffin cup, filing it level with the rim of the cup.

Transfer the filled pans to the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Bake 18 – 22 minutes.  A toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin should come out clean.  Let the muffins cool for at least 15 minutes before turning out of the tins.






34 comments:

Katerina said...

That's exactly the meaning of Lent Beth, sacrifice something small or something big. I am sure after that period your family will appreciate even more your baking skills!

Jess said...

Adding yogurt to the muffins for moisture--why didn't I think of that? Thanks for the recipes~ I haven't had a bran muffin in a long time, and this post makes me want to head to the store right now for ingredients! As for your husband's sacrifice for Lent...well, you might have to call him on that being involuntary :)

Belinda said...

Give up baking?? Wah! Well...glad that you baked in advance...these look scrumptious!

The Words Crafter said...

Wow, those look yummy! And I adore raisins.

You're right. It's not a sacrifice if it doesn't hurt...

jillbert said...

Those muffins are right up my alley!

Giving up baking for 40 days would be tough. Good luck!

laxsupermom said...

The muffins sound wonderful! I'm so impressed - giving up baking is such a huge sacrifice for those of us who love to bake. Glad you planned ahead for us out here in blogland.

Claudia said...

I used to make bran muffins every SUnday and have them carry on asa breakfast for the rest of the week. These make me think I'd like to go back to that. Still haven't decided on Lent. Uh oh.

Valerie said...

Lol! Andrew is quite the trooper. :D

Why is it that as soon as we forbid ourselves from eating something, it only becomes that much more appealing. If only we could re-wire our brains! As a recovering Catholic, I understand the difficulty of those 6, very-long weeks.

I'm so glad you thought ahead and will still be able to provide us with some tastey treats! These muffins would be perfect with a morning cup of coffee.

Carol said...

I hope your family doesn't go through withdrawal, your baking always looks fantastic! Good luck!
Great looking muffins!

Mary said...

Wow--giving up baking for 6 weeks! I haven't given up anything for lent in a long time, but this would be a huge challenge for me. I may be too busy to bake some weeks, but I'd be wistful too, and hanging out at Chapters or licking bakery windows or something. You are made of strong stuff, Beth. All the best with the writing over the next while.
:)

Joanne said...

You'll be turning up the heat on your writing then, cooking up a story at the keyboard instead :)

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

Your plans for Lent sound worth the effort. As for these muffins, I do love ones that are moist!

Mary said...

I'm sure you'll be able to stick to your resolve. It is a case of mind over matter. Your muffins sound delicious. Have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

Sue said...

Your bran muffins sound great, nice and moist:) Thanks for thinking of us by lining up your baking recipes/posts to carry us through:) Have a wonderful weekend, Beth!

Barbara Kloss said...

Good for you!--especially picking a 'sacrifice' that actually is one ;) AND thanks for leaving us with a wonderful recipe. I LOVE Bran muffins and these look fabulous!

Joanne said...

You are a much stronger woman than I am, that's for sure! Good luck...I know you'll do great this month at sticking to your resolution! And thanks for these delicious muffins. They sound super healthy and I'd be more than happy to eat them for breakfast!

Emma said...

I remember lent at school and giving up chocolate. Longest 40 days of my life although Easter always made up for it ;)

Your muffins look lovely, as always and I love that you put yoghurt in them, I often use yoghurt for baking, it adds a nice flavour and fluffiness.

Heather said...

I used to bake just about every other day myself. Then my wonderful husband was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Needless to say, I bake very infrequently now. I really do miss it, so I know just how you feel!

I just love a delicious bran muffin but have never been able to find a good recipe. Thanks for sharing!!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

That's a big one to give up Beth. WTG! You can do it, I know you can.

Kayte said...

My guys would be scoring sweets on the streets if I gave up baking for 6 weeks...think I would rather have them getting them at home. That said, it is very good of you to give up something like this that you enjoy. I debated on sweets and realized I would be negligent with TWD if I did that...it was tough to decide this year what to give up and what to add in (we always add in some service or doing things for others as well as giving up things...the adding in things is always a lot easier). The best part is you saved posts to get us all through, now next year if I did that (and froze stuff for the guys), I think I might be able to follow your lead. Might. I would never have gotten out of that bookstore with my integrity intact, however!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I've been wanting to make some healthy bran muffins so I am delighted to find your recipe and review. They sound great!

comfortablydomestic.com said...

My goodness, Beth! That *is* a sacrifice! I'm not sure I could go without baking for 6 weeks. I'll be praying for your resolve to do so, though.

Grapefruit said...

It's all mind over matter & so you'll do great.
I believe your creativity will definitely be channeled elsewhere during the time - I feel much the same way when I'm fasting. At first it shocks me how much of my day is centered around food but then I find that since food it out of the way, my mind is so much more receptive to other things.
The muffins are lovely, by the way! The yogurt & buttermilk must have made them super moist.

Katherines Corner said...

Yummy! A rewarding reason to give up the baking. Hugs

FOODESSA said...

Lent has a special meaning in my family and we unite on what we deprive ourselves without being too desperate about it ;o)

Muffins are perfect for bringing around to snack on especially when I had to run out on breakfast.

Flavourful wishes,
Claudia

Raina said...

Love your husband's comment. That is something my husband would say...lol

Your muffins sound great. I have yet to find a bran muffin recipe I like. So thank you; I am looking forward to making these:)

Medeia Sharif said...

I love bran muffins.

Giving up baking is quite a sacrifice!

Amie Kaufman said...

I've given up cookies, cakes, lollies, chocolate, ice cream and hot chips (and with any luck, my waistline). The good news for me? By the end of Lent, my kitchen should be installed! At that point, the bake-a-thon will commence. I have a list of your recipes I want to try!

Lindsay said...

Wow, good for you for giving up baking for six whole weeks. You have to think, if you were giving up dessert, then you'd still be baking but wouldn't be able to enjoy it!!

Barbara said...

Well, it wasn't for Lent, but I went on a long term diet in January and did the same thing. Cooked up a storm so I'd have posts for the duration. Almost done now and I have only baked a few times for entertaining. I'd say main courses do not count. :)
But I only have to please myself, Beth, so there won't be anyone else in the house sacrificing because I must. Your hubby is a good sport!

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

I grew up Baptist so I've never practiced Lent, but I can definitely see the advantages -- how it focuses the mind and spirit in preparation for Easter. Good for you! I'm most proud of you for making it out of the cook book section with your integrity intact. That made me laugh! :)

Amy

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Beth you inspired me to give up something I really enjoy for Lent. I have given up coffee. I'm sure it will get easier...

I have an award for you. :)

Monet said...

You are an inspiration! I may have to do this next year for lent. I spend A LOT of time baking, and it would be good for me to take some time to step away from all of that. Thank you for sharing your heart with me...and these muffins! I hope you have a blessed Sunday. You make me smile :-)

justine said...

Giving up baking for Lent ... wow, amazing. Thank you for stopping by my blog ... I will be back to visit yours! What lovely pictures and recipes!

Post a Comment