About a year ago, Simon and I went with my best friend, Nicki, to get our nails painted. (Yes, he loved it, and also got a sorta-shady kid riding a light up bike toy that may have been a secret spying machine, but that’s a story for another day.) Afterwards, Simon and I picked up some lunch, and ate a delicious honey bran muffin. It reminded me of the ones they used to serve at Mimi’s Cafe, hot and delicious, and alongside their corn chowder (which was also one of my favorite things to eat after my braces were tightened because it still tasted yummy after being blended). I’ve seen a lot of copycat Mimi’s recipes online, and decided to try one. The muffins turned out delicious–but full disclosure, I turned the butter content way down. They were still great, and offer the opportunity to add another smear of butter or cream cheese–or not–as you prefer.
Here’s what you need (to make 2 dozen muffins):
3 cups dates, or a combo of dates, prunes, and/or golden raisins (I did a little raisins and the rest dates/prunes)
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons boiling water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup oat bran (or wheat bran)
3 cups flour (I did 2 all purpose, 1 whole wheat)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Here’s what you do:
1. Place your dates/prunes/raisins in a bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside to soak.
2. Make your “glaze”: In a food processor, combine the butter with the sugars until smooth. Then add the 3 tablespoons honey and the hot water. Mix to combine.
3. Grease 2 muffin tins with cooking spray (or you can do one at a time if you only have one tray). Place a dollop of the glaze into each tin so it’s divided evenly among the 24 muffins. (Note: I tried making these as regular-sized muffins and mini-muffins, and found that the mini-muffins dried out a bit, and didn’t get that same gooey glaze on the bottom.)
4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
5. Drain your dates/prunes/raisins, and blend in a food processor until smooth.
6. Pour the pureed fruit into a large bowl, and stir in the oil and 1/2 cup honey. Then, beat in the eggs. Finally, stir in the buttermilk and bran.
7. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into the wet mixture. Stir just to combine.
8. Pop your muffin tins into the oven for about 1 minute so the glaze melts. Then spoon the batter into the prepared tins (mine were pretty full).
9. Bake for 25 minutes.
10. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for a couple of minutes before removing from the pan and inverting to cool completely.