Noni’s Bran Muffins with Date Puree

Toasted bran. Pureed dates. Whole wheat flour. Probably tastes like cardboard, right? Think again! This recipe has actually accomplished the often sought after yet rarely achieved combination of healthy and delicious.

My mom, Noni, adapted this recipe from a pastry served at La Brea Bakery, using pureed dates in place of raisins. But don’t let the healthy ingredients fool you, these muffins pack a ton of flavor and are incredibly moist thanks to the fruit puree. Best of all, you can toast the bran and re-hydrate the dates the night before you bake them, which makes these deliciously figure-friendly muffins the perfect breakfast on the go.


Noni's Bran Muffins

Yield: 1 dozen muffins

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 25 min


2 cups unprocessed bran
1½ cups chopped dates (Recommended: Sunsweet)
1½ cups water
½ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon orange zest, finely chopped
½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
½ cup vegetable oil
1 extra large egg
1 extra large egg white
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup stone-ground whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon Kosher salt


Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Spread the bran on a cookie sheet and bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until toasted, stirring half-way through to prevent the bran from burning.

In a small saucepan, stir together 1 cup of the chopped dates and 1 cup of water. Simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes until the water is absorbed.

Place the mixture in a blender and process until pureed.

Pour the bran into a large bowl, add the buttermilk and remaining ½ cup of water. Stir to combine.

Stir in the date puree, orange zest and brown sugar.

Add the oil, whole egg and egg white, mixing well to incorporate.

Sift the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into the bowl.

Add the remaining chopped dates and stir to combine.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups (if using foil cups, spray with cooking spray) and bake for 25 minutes until the muffins are golden brown and firm to the touch.

Recipe adapted from Nancy Silverton's Pastries from the La Brea Bakery.



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