Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Bran Muffins

Sweet and Spicy Bran Muffins
Change is in the air.  Fall weather is here, changing relationships, new and evolving hobbies. I'm sure other people are experiencing changes in their lives different than mine.  2012 is just around the corner now, and I hope everyone is begining to look forward to the new year approaching.

I love this time of year.  When the leaves are just changing, Halloween, birthdays, Thanksgiving, birthdays, lots of birthdays, Christmas and my ever favorite...New Years!!  The next 3 months are such a whirl wind for me that this is the time that I start to look forward to the next coming year and what it will bring.  The older I get, the more I find myself looking forward to next year and what changes my life will under go different from the last.  I can specifically remember the year that I began to look forward to the next, now its just a part of my mind wondering fall thoughts.

I'm sure you've noticed some minor new things about dgydd (don't get your dress dirty) and there will be more to come as I get more organized.  I wanted to add a little more structure and variety to my blog, I found myself getting bored and uninspired lately, so I decided to take a little break and think about the progress this blog has made over the last 9 months.  Initially I had planned to wait until dgydd's first birthday to start with my new plan, but I'm ready now.  That way the kinks will be out and it will be easy flowing for the new year.  At first I thought I would explain my ideas of new things that will be added, and then go for it...but I think I'm just going to let it flow and keep it more random.  Not a real big deal in the scheme of the world and won't really affect anyones lives or anything, but I'm kind of excited about it.  So stay tuned.  And thank you to everyone that checks in on a routine basis.  I'm glad there are a few people out there that enjoy this hobby of mine.

So, lets talk about these muffins.  Don't let the "spicy" throw you off.  I have made these muffins about 10 times now and only once did they really have a spice to them.  You may get a little twinge of spice for a split second, but its nothing that is going to heat your mouth up and stay for a while.  Ancho chilies are such a mild chili that they really only give the bran muffin a rich taste that complements the chocolate and heartiness of the bran.  I kind of forgot about these muffins, I'm really glad my memory didn't fail to remind me of these tasty snacks.

What you'll need:
3 cups crushed bran flakes
2 1/2 cups flour
1 pack or about 5 ancho chilies (you can find them in the mexican section of most grocery stores)
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
3/4 cups honey
5 cups water (3 cups will be to boil ancho chilies in)
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
2 eggs
1-2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

In a medium pot, add ancho chilies and cover with about 3 cups water.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and steep chilies for 15 minutes flipping them over half way.  Reserve 2-3 chilies and 1 cup of the water.

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, add bran flakes and set aside until chili tea is done.  Once chilies finished steeping, pour one cup of the chili water and apples sauce over flakes and mix until a thick paste forms and you can no longer make out the flakes.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, sugar, baking soda and salt.  Add eggs, water, yogurt and honey and mix until no longer lumpy.  Add bran paste and mix until fairly smooth, some lumps are ok.  Take the two or three chilies you saved, split them in half and remove seeds, then either chop them in a food processor or by hand into small bits.  Fold in chocolate chips and chilies into muffin batter.

Spray muffin tins with cooking spray, you can use muffin papers if you choose, I didn't.  Fill each cup 3/4 of the way full and bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for a few minutes before removing from pan.  You will probably have to run a butter knife around the edges, but they still come out easy. 

If you want something different than the typical fall pumpkin/apple fall overload, give these a try.  You could probably even add a little all spice to keep them on the same fall flavor flow.  I love them.  Enjoy!

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