Fiber Never Tasted So Good

Bran is one of nature's greatest sources of fiber. It essentially is the outer coating of the wheat kernel where most of the minerals, proteins, and vitamins are found. Use bran to sprinkle on yogurt or to add in muffins. Especially if you eat mostly enriched breads, cereals, and pasta, fill up on this incredible fiber source as much as possible.

Bananas are the answer to the dry, tasteless bran muffin of yesterday. Yes they add flavor, but they especially can turn many dull recipes into moist goodness that otherwise would be used as door stoppers. The combination of hearty bran and moist banana in a single muffin is as ironic as Alanis Morissette--until you try this awesome recipe.

Chunky Banana Bran Muffins
Makes 20 to 24 muffins

2 c. unprocessed wheat bran
2 c. buttermilk, shaken (Use milk if you don't have buttermilk)
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. light brown sugar, lightly packed
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 c. unsulfured molasses
2 tsp. grated orange zest (not a big deal if you don't have it)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 c. raisins
2 c. large-diced bananas (2 bananas)
1 c. chopped walnuts (or whatever nut you have on hand)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

Combine the bran and buttermilk and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, 1 at a time. Scrape the bowl and then add the molasses, orange zest, and vanilla. (The mixture will look curdled.) Add the bran/buttermilk mixture and combine.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the batter just until combined. Don't overmix it! Fold in the raisins, bananas and walnuts with a rubber spatula.

With an ice cream scoop or large spoon, fill the muffin cups to the top and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

(Recipe Courtesy of Barefoot Contessa at Home)