“We set out to create a muffin that could be breakfast with the easy addition of a cup of coffee and a glass of juice,” writer Peter Kaminsky and Marie Rama in “Bacon Nation” (Workman Publishing, $14.95). “It includes bacon and eggs and super-healthy bran. Fifteen or 20 years ago, bran muffins were flavorless and so gummy that people who felt guilty about their eating habits could take solace in the ‘penance’ of a chewy, tasteless bran muffin. But bran is powerful and assertive, just the thing to stand up to bacon in these muffins. And adding yogurt is like adding the fountain of youth — just look at all those yogurt-eating Bulgarians who live to be 100. With all that healthiness going for these muffins, why not finish them off with a sweet, crumbly bacon topping? Here’s to health and fun!”
Bacon Crumble-Topped Bran Muffins
For the bacon crumble topping:
2 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
For the bacon bran muffins:
3 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup Kellogg’s All-Bran cereal
2 large eggs
1/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup golden raisins
Prepare the bacon crumble topping: Cook the 2 slices of bacon in a medium-size skillet over medium heat until lightly browned and most of the fat is rendered, 5 to 8 minutes, stirring often and adjusting the heat as necessary. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, reserving 1 tablespoon of bacon fat in the skillet. If necessary, add enough butter to the skillet to measure 1 tablespoon.
Combine the 6 tablespoons of flour, the sugar, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon in a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet with the bacon fat and heat over medium high heat until the butter melts, about 30 seconds. Drizzle the butter and bacon fat mixture over the sugar and flour mixture in the bowl, taking care to include any browned bacon bits from the bottom of the skillet. Add he drained bacon and toss with a fork until evenly moistened. Set the bacon crumble topping side.
Prepare the bacon bran muffins: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cook the 3 slices of bacon pieces in a medium-size skillet over medium heat until lightly browned and most of the fat is rendered, 5 to 8 minutes, stirring often and adjusting the heat as necessary. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, reserving the bacon fat in the skillet. Using a pastry brush, grease 9 muffin tin cups (a nonstick muffin tin works best) with the bacon fat from the skillet.
Combine the 3/4 cup of flour and the whole-wheat flour, baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and the salt in a medium-size mixing bowl.
Add 1/2 cup of the bran cereal to the bowl of a mini food processor and pulse until finely ground. Set the ground bran cereal aside. Place the eggs in a second medium-size mixing bowl and whisk until lightly colored, then whisk in the 1/2 cup of brown sugar and the molasses. Add the oil, yogurt and vanilla, and whisk well to combine. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of bran cereal, raisins and drained bacon and let the bran mixture sit for about 5 minutes.
Add the flour mixture to the bran mixture and mix with a rubber spatula until the batter is combined and evenly moistened. The batter will be a little stiff; do not overmix it. Using a 13 cup measure, divide the batter evenly among the 9 greased muffin cups. Top each muffin with about 2 tablespoons of the bacon crumble topping.
Bake the muffins until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean, 16 to 18 minutes. Let the muffins cool in the muffin tin for about 5 minutes, then transfer the muffins to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 minutes longer before serving. The bran muffins can be stored in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.
Makes 9 muffins.
From “Bacon Nation” by Peter Kaminsky and Marie Rama