These bran and oatmeal muffins are a great way to start the day. Credit: Courtesy of Sandy Oliver

Bran has such a dowdy reputation, even though lots of us are grateful for its beneficial effect on something my mother used to call, euphemistically, “what ails you.” Prunes and prune juice suffer the same reputation for the same reason.

A few years ago, the prune producers actually tried to rename them as dried plums, but it didn’t stick.

Bran-intensive cereal, the most obvious one being All-Bran, occupies a very small space on grocery shelves, though some of my pals have said it is hard to find at all, what with the rest of the child-beloved, sugar-laden cereals crowding it out. It’s too true: All-Bran looks like a pile of twigs when turned out of the box, and who would want to eat that?

So make the twigs into muffins. A recipe for doing that comes from my island friend and neighbor Derreth Roberts. She makes a batch of them and stashes them away in the fridge or freezer. She likes them for breakfast along with fruit and yogurt. Wicked wholesome what with bran, oats and molasses. Raisins are optional.

You don’t use cup papers. Just grease your muffin pan well. These mix up very quickly once the bran and oatmeal is soaked in the milk, perfect for a weekend breakfast or brunch.

I freely admit, I don’t like making muffins, which is why you seldom see muffin recipes here. I seem never to have quite gained the knack of filling the little cups just right so the muffins puff in the middle. I know, I know, just fill them two-thirds full. Can’t help it. These were no exception. Rounded but not puffy. Never mind, maybe yours will puff.

They taste very good though, (and even better with butter and jam). I hope they are good for what ails me.

Bran and Oatmeal Muffins

Yields about 12 muffins

1 cup All-Bran cereal

1 cup rolled oats

1 ½ cup milk

1 egg

1 cup flour

½ baking soda

½ cup molasses

½ cup of raisins (optional)

Set the All-Bran and rolled oats to soak in the milk. It’ll take about 15 minutes for them to soften.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease your muffin tins.

Mix the egg, flour and baking soda into the soaked bran and oatmeal and stir it well.

Then add the molasses and optional raisins, and mix well.

Spoon the batter into the muffin pan.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

When done the muffin tops will be puffed, firm and dry and a tester inserted comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and let cool before removing the muffins from the pan.

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Sandy Oliver, Taste Buds

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working...