I, and the rest of Christian America, am suffering from Christmas hangover. Too many cookies. Too much chocolate. Too much gravy. Each morning I wake up to find my unlit tree still in my living room. I hum Christmas songs and then remember I’ll need to wait 11 more months to sing them again. And, among many other things, my fridge and pantry are filled with the possibilities of side dishes or desserts that never came to fruition.

First, I found an ample supply of pumpkin puree. I bought that in early November, when I was going to do a test run of my Caramel Pumpkin Pie before Thanksgiving, but I forgot. Fortunately, the pie was great anyway. But I still had that pumpkin to deal with.

Then, I found sour cream in my fridge that was supposed to become a part of my Spinach Quiche. I thought it would be nice to bring some into work on Christmas Day. Fantasies of quiche making were swept aside when I scrambled for last minute gifts. The sour cream was due to expire on January 2nd and I hate, and I mean HATE, wasting food.

I saw the pumpkin and the sour cream, and remembered some bran that was waiting patiently to be used in my freezer, and I thought I ought to make some muffins. That is, a baked good whose main ingredients are not sugar, butter, or cream.  A baked good which has, ahem, cleansing properties. And so, Holiday Hangover Muffins were born.

I am pretty excited because this is the first baking recipe I’ve made up from scratch, without another recipe as a model. When it comes to baking, I usually adapt. But for this, I scanned the internet to find the standard proportions of ingredients and made it my own. I made these muffins three times before they came out like I wanted them to (like I said, I had a lot of pumpkin). It’s interesting to see how your recipe changes. Here’s my original recipe, which I included just in case you were worried I was blessed with good handwriting.

I am pleased with these muffins. They are, like my banana bread, extremely moist. And hearty but not, you know, too hearty. In addition to helping me recover from the morning after Christmas, I would like to make a place for them at the breakfast before Thanksgiving. Thank you, Holiday Hangover Muffins, for putting my holiday leftovers to good use.

HOLIDAY HANGOVER MUFFINS (Pumpkin Sour Cream Bran Muffins) made up by me

Thanks to my friend Beth for suggesting adding a pinch of salt! It helps bring out the other spices.



2 c bran

1.5 c white flour

1.5 tsp baking soda

3 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

One pinch salt


3 c pumpkin puree

2 eggs lightly beaten

2 tbsp molasses

4 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 c sour cream

2 tbsp vanilla


Chopped, crystallized ginger or Sugar in the Raw


Preheat oven to 350. Grease or add muffin cups to a muffin tin. In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients together. In a large bowl, mix wet ingredients together. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined (do not over mix). Spoon batter into muffin cups. You can fill the muffin cups to the top, as batter will rise only slightly. Sprinkle tops of each muffin with crystallized ginger or Sugar in the Raw. Bake 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean (muffins will feel soft but formed on top).


Pumpkin-Ginger Muffins

October 17, 2010

I am not much of a toast person. I’ve never been much for carbs as a routine breakfast, unless I’m out and need something to dip my poached eggs into. The reason why this is odd is because I really like making fruit butter, which doesn’t have too many uses aside from being slathered on toast. Usually, I need alternative ways to use it.

So I thought I’d take a jar of my Pumpkin Ginger Butter and use it in some muffins, on a rainy October day. I am not going to be so obnoxious as to suggest you should make Pumpkin Ginger Butter solely to stir it into muffins, so I’ve included the link to the original version of this recipe as well here.

I think these muffins are quite good, but not life-changing. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve never really been a muffin person. But Will really liked them, more so than the Buttermilk Bran Muffins. So if you are looking for a good pumpkin muffin, these are what you just might need. Next time I make them, I’d like to add some crystallized ginger to the batter. If you try it, let me know how it goes!

The butter: Pumpkin Ginger Butter

More on muffins: Buttermilk Bran Muffins

What I’m reading:

PUMPKIN-GINGER MUFFINS (I adapted the adapted version from smittenkitchen. Originally from the American club, in Kohler, Wisconsin via Gourmet Magazine)

For the original recipe click here


3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup Pumpkin Ginger Butter

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt


Put oven in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Put liners in muffin cups.

Combine flour and baking powder in one bowl. In a different bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, 1/4 cup sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined.

Stir together cinnamon and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in another bowl.

Divide batter among muffin cups (each should be about three-fourths full), then sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until puffed and golden brown and wooden pick or skewer inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

Cool in pan on a rack five minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool to warm or room temperature.

Buttermilk Bran Muffins

October 3, 2010

I am never in the mood for a muffin. Muffins always disappoint me. They embody my Baking Purgatory: never hearty enough to be breakfast, never sweet enough to be dessert. Why I suddenly got a craving for bran muffins yesterday is a mystery. But I can say that for the first time in my whole life, I was pleased and satisfied with a muffin. The rich buttermilk, the nutty bran, and the fragrant vanilla are a harmonious trio. I love these and will definitely be making them again soon. You could say, My muffin top is all that, whole grain, low-fat.

Did you know that the Muffin Top Baking Pan was created as a response to “The Muffin Top Episode” on Seinfeld? In this episode, Elaine is the brainchild behind a bakery that sells only the muffin tops. The problem with this idea is that the Muffin Top bakery cannot find anyplace to dump the muffin “stumps.” Both the garbage dump and the homeless shelter reject them. In an odd instance of life imitating art, the muffin top pan was born after this episode. Click here for  The Muffintop Episode, in Summary

What I’m reading:

BUTTERMILK BRAN MUFFINS (adapted slightly from The Healthy Oven Baking Book as published by Epicurious).

I adapted this recipe only by increasing the amount of vanilla extract. It was a very good choice.

Two muffin-making principles 1) Get your ingredients to room temperature before using. 2) It is better to mix the batter too-little than too-much


Non-stick cooking spray

1 cup unprocessed (miller’s) wheat bran

2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (spoon into a measuring cup and level top)

2/3 cup whole wheat flour (spoon into a measuring cup and level top)

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk

1/2 cup raw sugar crystals (Sugar in Raw) or granulated sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 large egg

1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract


1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°.

2. Lightly spray twelve 2 1/4 x 1 1/2-inch nonstick muffin cups with oil.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk the bran, flours, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Set aside.

4. In another medium bowl, using a handheld eletric mixer set at high speed, beat the buttermilk, sugar, applesauce, egg, oil and vanilla until frothy, about two minutes. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Using a spoon, stir just until combined. Do not overmix.

5. Divide the batter equally among the prepared muffin cups. Bake unti the tops spring back when pressed gently in the center, about 20 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from the cups. Serve warm or cool completely on the rack.