Currant Bran Muffins

These are excellent for breakfast or snacks.  They're essentially 'Best Bran Muffins' from the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book (source of many lovely recipes including my favorite scones, buttermilk bread, pita bread, potato bread, and more--highly recommended), but the particular combination of seasonings and the currants is mine.

The currants I call for are really just small raisins; raisins are ok, but the smaller currants end up more evenly distributed in the muffins; you could chop the raisins a bit to get the same effect.  Actual currants, dried, are very tart, and very large, and could certainly be used but you'd get a quite different effect in the muffins.

Also below is a marvelous ginger variation.

Standard size muffin pans for 12 muffins, well greased or lined with muffin cups
Oven 375 degrees F        Time 20 minutes

1/2 cup dried currants

Mill together:

  150 grams soft white wheat berries
  about 1/3 inch of a cinnamon stick, or to tastes
  about 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom seeds, or about 8 cardamom pods
  1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or other whole wheat flour (not critical hard vs soft wheat because it does not get kneaded)
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
    1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 t soda
1/2 t salt

1 1/2 cups of wheat bran

3 tablespoons butter, melted, or 3 tablespoons of oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 egg

1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of buttermilk powder plus 1 1/2 cup of water
juice of 2 lemons plus milk to total 1 1/2 cups

At least 1/2 hour before you want to make the muffins, boil a cup of water and pour it over the currants.  Let them soak, and at the end of that time, strain them.  You can use the soaking water for your next loaf of bread, or to hydrate the buttermilk powder, if using that instead of buttermilk.

Whisk the spices, soda and salt into the flour, and then stir in the bran.  

In a 2 C or larger measuring cup, whisk together the butter, sugar, molasses, egg, and buttermilk.  .  

Mix together the wet and dry ingredients and drained soak currents.   Stir gently until just mixed.  

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin and bake until the tops spring back when pressed lightly.

Ginger variation:

Mill the flour with

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon pieces
6 whole cloves

(or add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon cloves to the flour). 

Take about 1/3 cup of the flour/spice mixture and

1/2 cup of candied ginger

(preferably not crystallized, which is coated with additional crystals of sugar on the outside:  I just found some of this at Trader Joes this week)

and place in the food processor together.  Chop until the ginger is in small flour-coated pieces (add a bit more flour if the ginger threatens to clump into paste, and stop before the ginger is ground into dust--I stopped when they were about 1/8 inch bits). 

Use a little extra butter--1/4 cup--for an additional luxury touch. 

And otherwise prepare and bake as above.

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