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Strawberry Bran Muffins

With two boys who are always hungry before and after school, I make a lot of muffins around here. Fortunately, they love bran muffins, and the grainy base takes on all kinds of additions well – sometimes I add banana, raisins or blueberries, but I had never thought to add strawberries, until I came across this recipe.

Canola oil is my oil of choice in the kitchen – it’s great to bake with, having a high smoke point and neutral flavor. It’s also the lowest in saturated fat of all common cooking oils, containing half the saturated fat of olive oil. It also contains 11% omega 3 fatty acids – olive oil only contains 1%. And if you live in Canada, it’s a big local crop – there are 52,000 canola growers across the country. Even for those in the US, canola is far more local than olive oil, which typically comes from Italy, Greece or Spain.

Because liquids add a cakey texture to baked goods, heart-healthy oils such as canola are best suited to muffins, quick breads, cakes, and other cake-like recipes. If you have a muffin recipe that calls for melted butter, you can swap canola oil across the board. Not only is it better for you, it’s easier on the pocketbook. Flavor-wise, no one will notice a difference.

Strawberry Bran Muffins

Adapted slightly from CanolaInfo

3 cups natural bran
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown or granulated sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup fresh or frozen diced strawberries (or substitute blueberries)

1. Preheat oven to 375 °F (190 °C).

2. In large bowl, mix together bran, flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.

3. In another bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, canola oil and molasses; pour into bran mixture and stir just enough to moisten, being careful not to over mix. Fold in strawberries.

4. Divide mixture evenly into muffin tins that have been sprayed with canola oil spray or lined with paper liners. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let stand for two minutes before removing muffins from tin.

Yield: 24 muffins.

Photo credit: CanolaInfo

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