When I was growing up in the 80s there were two kinds of muffins, maybe three. Corn, bran, and blueberry. I’m talking about when you went out to eat at a diner, which was something I loved doing on weekends with my family. Back then people seemed to equate bran to health. Apparently there was an actual fad (who knew? I surely didn’t when I started writing this) that was based on a study that claimed oat bran could drastically lower cholesterol.
Turns out it was wrong.
Which is not all that surprising considering this was the same era that thought eggs were the devil’s spawn and health advocates pushed chemical laden margarine over natural butter. It’s very sad and somewhat embarrassing to admit this, but I spent the first two and half decades of my life thinking butter was not only bad for you, but “gross.” Oh, the ignorance of youth!
Anyway… back then I vacillated between bran and corn, depending on my mood and how “healthy” I felt like being, which wasn’t very considering my go-to breakfast was a strawberry frosted pop tart. Picking bran made me feel good, though, and in my memory they were tasty.
So when I saw a recipe for a gluten free cornmeal molasses muffin in the New York Times, it really brought me back. There’s no actual bran in these, but they are brown with a subtle sweetness.
The first time I made these I burnt them slightly (my oven is ludicrously hot even with a thermometer) and not sweet at all. Probably because they have NO sugar. None. Zippo. I guess the molasses counts, but it made the muffins a little hardcore. Still, I liked them with honey poured on top and Little Guy devoured them!
Poor Bunky got a glimpse after school and, equating brown for chocolate, got very excited until I explained the no sugar thing. It was like watching a balloon deflate. My husband also steered clear of them, sugar hound that he is, but I enjoyed them, and suspected they’d be even better with some tweaking, namely some maple syrup.
And I was right! They are still super healthy and only subtly sweet, so I feel good about eating them and giving them to Little Guy. By the way, did you know how great blackstrap molasses is for you? Full of iron and calcium and other good stuff.
Here’s my adaptation below, based very much on the New York Times recipe. You could totally fold in raisins at the very end, as the original author did, but I have a near phobic aversion to cooked raisins so I did not. Feel free to go your own way here. It’s cool.
Maple Molasses Muffins: An 80s Remix
- 140 grams cornmeal (approximately 1 cup)
- 175 grams whole grain or all purpose gluten free flour mix* (approx 1 + 1/4 cups)
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 240 grams (1 cup) low fat yogurt (I used 2% Greek Fage brand)
- 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
- 1/4 cup grams maple syrup
- 1 + 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 75 grams (1/3 cup) canola or grape seed oil
- 75 grams (1/2 cup) raisins, very optional
2. In a separate large bowl whisk the eggs with the yogurt, molasses, vanilla and oil. Quickly whisk in the cornmeal mixture. Fold in the raisins – if you dare!
3. Using a spoon or ice cream scoop, fill muffin cups to the top. Place in the oven and bake 18-20 minutes, until lightly browned and well risen. Remove from the heat and if the muffins come out of the tins easily, remove from the tins and allow to cool on a rack. If they don’t release easily, allow to cool and then remove from the tins.
Makes 12 muffins.
According to the original recipe, these keep for a couple of days out of the refrigerator, for a few more days in the refrigerator, and for a few months in the freezer.
Serve with honey and/or butter on top. Powdered sugar is nice too. Also works au natural alongside a nice cup of tea.
I’m happy to have shared this post at the Gluten-Free Friday’s link up party hosted by Vegetarian Mamma. Click the link to find more great GF recipes!
It’s also posted on One Creative Weekend, hosted by One Creative Mommy, and Simply Sugar and Gluten Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays. * Please note, that the recipes on these two link-ups will NOT all be gluten free, so be sure to read carefully.
Definitely will try this, another way to use molasses!
Thanks! Hope they turn out well for you. I’m out of molasses, but I’m definitely going to get some more. Sticky as anything though 🙂
This made me giggle. I can remember the oat bran fad as well. There was a guy who tried to sue over it, due to him eating a LOT of it and het so “obstructed” that he had to have emergency surgery. OK, that one still makes me laugh (I had to have been in my teens when I read that one in USA Today). He had it eaten it mostly dry and it absorbed all the liquid in his stomach. Methinks oat bran muffins were way better for the body. OK, I need to quit snickering……
That is a pretty crazy story! Oh my gosh, can you imagine eating that much dry oat bran? Poor guy should’ve stuck with muffins.
I totally remember Bran! LOL That brought back memories! My older son (5) and my husband would steer clear of them as they are sugar hounds too! I’d like them! YUM! Thanks for kicking off a great party this week! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! 🙂
Thanks for linking back to the Gluten Free Fridays post!
We have a giveaway next week!!
Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com
Ha, I’m not the only one with bran nostalgia 🙂 Hope the muffins turn out well for you! I’ve been enjoying them along with my little son. Between the two of us they’ll be sure to disappear fast.
Your muffins look really divine! I must make them this afternoon! 🙂
Thanks so much Sophie! Let me know how they turn out. Mine end up a bit dry the next day, but I think many corn based muffins can do that, though nothing a little honey or butter can’t help 🙂
I’d been eyeing that NYT recipe, too, ever since everybody I know emailed me the link excitedly. A sweeter version with optional sifting sounds even more up my alley, though, so thanks! Bookmarking this.
So funny how everyone sent you that article. That’s how it was for me too in the beginning, anything with the word gluten or celiac came my way.
I’d even go as far as adding more maple syrup next time, but maybe that’s because I am a (not so) secret sugar hound 🙂
Great photo of your son. It looks like half “anticipation”/half “what is she up to now”….
Thanks Janet! He often looks at me like that, especially when I keep taking his picture 🙂
Thanks for sharing your recipe. I am just getting a chance to catch up on weeks of blog posts! I vividly remember the days when consuming a huge oat bran muffin equaled making good, healthy choices! It was around the same time we used typewriters, rotary dial phones, and Nintendo. I am probably even a smidge older than you are!
Anyway, looking forward to trying your muffins as we are all still in a muffin-obsessed phase here in Green Bay.
I’m quite relieved not to be the only one who remembers bran around here :J) I am betting we’re the same age, if not me a smidge older than you! I went to college when email was so NEW hardly anyone really used it. Crazy! Let me know how the muffins go. I’m trying to think about a fix for the touch of dryness they have after a day, and I’m wondering if it’s the inevitable corn component, or if it can be helped somehow…
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