These Maple-Glazed Cranberry Pecan Bran Muffins are not only healthy and filling, they're SO delicious, you'll find yourself making them again and again! And it doesn't hurt that they come together quickly with one bowl and no mixer needed!
I'll be the first to admit that I'm a sucker for a good bran muffin. The problem is that bran muffins are often dry and boring. A few years ago I found a fabulous recipe that yields beautiful high-domed bran muffins that are light, moist and tender. I've been running with it ever since and these Maple-Glazed Cranberry Pecan Bran Muffins are the latest variation in our bran muffin collection.
Same recipe, a new outfit
If you've been following The Café for any length of time, you've probably encountered some of the recipes in this collection. We started out with a fairly basic (but super delicious) buttermilk bran muffin (pictured below).
Our readers loved the muffins so much (and so did we) that we adapted the recipe to create a blueberry version.
And when fall rolled around a recipe that included diced apples found its way into our hearts.
We even came up with a tropical rendition with pineapple and coconut to keep breakfasts interesting.
Although each recipe in this collection is uniquely different they also have a lot of similarities. All of the recipes can be stirred together in one bowl with no mixer necessary in right around 10 minutes. They all also call for wheat bran, whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour as their main ingredients along with a generous portion of buttermilk.
Up until now, all of the bran muffin recipes have had an easy honey/butter glaze that's brushed on as the muffins emerge from the oven. The glaze seals in the moisture and dries to a crisp, shiny surface. These Maple-Glazed Cranberry Pecan Bran Muffins also have a pretty glaze but we switched out the honey for a drizzle of maple syrup that pairs deliciously with the sweet cranberries and crunchy pecans.
What is wheat bran?
This recipe calls for 2 cups of wheat bran. What is wheat bran? Healthline. com explains it pretty clearly: "A wheat kernel is made up of three parts: the bran, endosperm and germ. The bran is the hard outer layer of the wheat kernel, which is jam-packed with various nutrients and fiber. During the milling process, the bran is stripped away from the wheat kernel and becomes a byproduct." That's the part we're using in these delicious and nutritious Blueberry Bran Muffins!
Wheat bran has a nutty flavor with a touch of sweetness. It adds great texture and a full-bodied taste to these muffins. Wheat bran is really reasonable (I pay $2.18/bag) and is available at most larger grocery stores. Sometimes it's a little tricky to find though, as different grocers stock it in different areas.
At the local store where I usually shop for groceries, it's stocked in the cereal aisle, right around the oatmeal. Other stores carry it in the baking aisle and sometimes it's in a section where the natural foods are found. You can also find it online. Bob's Red Mill and Hodgson Mills are two of the major companies that produce wheat bran.
Breakfast, brunch, snacks...
So if you're looking for a hearty, healthy breakfast option that will keep you satiated all morning, put this Cranberry Pecan Bran Muffins recipe on your must-make soon list.
These muffins freeze well and it's wonderful to be able to pull out one (or more) on busy days. They also make a lovely offering for a brunch and, if you have kids, family members or friends that get the afternoon munchies, these fabulous muffins will satisfy everyone!
Café Tips for making these Maple-Glazed Cranberry Pecan Bran Muffins
- This recipe calls for whole wheat flour. I use King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour. It has the same nutritional benefits as regular whole wheat flour, but it's not quite as coarse.
- If you don't have whole wheat flour, this recipe also works well with 100% all-purpose flour.
- Don't over-mix the batter. Once you add the flour, stir just until it's mixed in. Over-mixing muffins can make them tough.
- Dried cranberries can get really dried out. I like to plump for 5-10 minutes before adding them to the batter. It makes the muffins extra moist.
- Don't skip the honey-butter glaze. In addition to being delicious, it seals in moisture and gives the muffins a beautiful shiny presentation.
- The glaze recipe, as written, is enough for the top of the muffins. I like to also brush the glaze on the sides so I usually double the recipe.
- This recipe calls for wheat bran. See the tips and facts about wheat bran above in the post.
- No buttermilk? No worries! To make your own buttermilk, place 2 tablespoons of vinegar into a 2-cup measuring cup. Add milk (I like to use whole milk, but use whatever you have) to measure 1½ cups. Stir the mixture and allow it to sit for 5 minutes, then add to the batter in lieu of buttermilk.
- These bran muffins freeze well. Allow the muffins to cool completely, then freeze on a sheet pan, uncovered, for 1 hour. Once frozen, place muffins in a ziplock bag or airtight freezer container. Pull out as many as you want and allow them to thaw before serving.
- This is a somewhat unusual muffin recipe in that you fill the muffin tins almost completely full rather than ⅔ or ¾ full as most muffin recipes recommend.
- You can make this batter the night before, store it in the fridge then bake up the muffins in the morning.
Thought for the day:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers, neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoy this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
- 1 cup water
- ⅔ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup mild-flavored oil sunflower grapeseed, canola, corn, vegetable, or avocado oils will all work
- ½ cup brown sugar packed (I use dark brown sugar but light brown will also work.)
- 3 large eggs
- ¼ cup molasses I use light, unsulphured molasses which is the type you commonly find at most grocery stores.
- 1½ cups buttermilk I use whole milk buttermilk but low fat will also work.
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cup wheat bran
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup chopped pecans divided
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon butter I use salted butter
Heat the water in the microwave for 2 minutes until very hot. Add the dried cranberries and allow them to sit in the hot water while you mix up the batter.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan generously with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. Set a cooling rack on a work surface with a piece of parchment paper or foil underneath (for easy cleanup).
Whisk together oil, sugar and eggs in a large bowl until well blended. Add molasses, buttermilk and vanilla. Stir to combine.
Sprinkle the baking powder baking soda and salt over the top and whisk until nice and smooth.
Add the bran and both flours, Stir just until all of the flour mixture is incorporated (do not over-mix).
Drain the dried cranberries and press on them with the back of a spoon to remove any excess water. Add the cranberries and ½ cup of the chopped pecans to the batter and stir to combine.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling almost to the top. Sprinkle the remain ¼ cup of pecans over the tops of the muffin. Bake for 12-15 minutes until firm to touch and a tester comes out clean.
Allow to sit in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then remove them from the pan to the cool rack.
Combine the butter and maple syrup in a small microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup. Cook on high power for 45-60 seconds or until the butter is melted. Stir well to combine. Brush mixture over the top surface of warm muffins. (If desired, double the glaze and brush it on the tops and sides of the muffins.
Allow the muffins to cool and the glaze to dry. Serve and enjoy!
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success..
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn't have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.
This recipe makes 12 large muffins. You can also fill the cups ¾ full and make 16 muffins or make 12 muffins and a small loaf of bread.