Honey Oat Banana Bran Mini Muffins

Now there's a mouthful -- and a scrumptious one, I might add!

My, I mean, our pantry (I have to get used to saying that since I now share one -- but more on that in a future post) is chock-full of oats and bran, the not-so-scant remnants of my granola making. I love granola, namely the Henrietta's Table recipe, but a girl can only eat so much of it before she needs a little variety. And I had temporarily reached my limit.

My taste buds and stomach cried out for something different. I still needed a high-fiber breakfast even if I were forgoing my beloved granola -- Why? Because fiber is good for you! But what could be a suitable replacement for the sweet, complex crunch of oats and nuts? Bran muffins, of course. (I know. They're not crunchy. But bear with me here.)

After giving it some thought, I decided these bran muffins must have bananas and honey in them. I also recently received some coupons from Stonyfield Farm for free Oikos Greek yogurt and knew it would be a perfect addition. Oikos is fat-free, and one-half cup has 11 grams of protein -- protein is good for you too! It's especially good for me since I've recently been getting up at 5:55 am to work out before work. Crazy, I know. If I didn't have such a dedicated workout partner -- my boyfriend -- I'd be sleeping in!

Helpful hint: Greek yogurt can easily take the place of buttermilk, as it has that nice, tangy flavor. I read that you should use half yogurt and half milk when substituting for buttermilk, but I didn't do that here.

With these things in mind, I set out in search of the perfect recipe. I found one I liked on JoyofBaking.com, but it would need some work, as it had no bananas, honey, or yogurt in the ingredient list.

I made some changes, did some simple math, and somehow ended up with some pretty tasty little muffins. I hope you like them too!

Honey Oat Banana Bran Mini Muffins (adapted from JoyofBaking.com)
Makes approx. 48 mini muffins, probably more*

1 1/2 cups bran
1/3 cup boiling water
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 bananas, mashed (very ripe or a little overripe works best)
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup Oikos Vanilla Greek yogurt
1/4 cup milk, as needed

Optional topping (makes enough for 24 mini muffins)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup oats

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line mini muffin pan with paper mini muffin cups.
(Or make regular-size muffins if you prefer. I like mini foods. Think about it: Wouldn't you be more likely to snag a couple of mini muffins than one giant muffin?)

Mix the bran into the boiling water and set aside.
(I boiled the water in a measuring cup in the microwave and then just stirred the bran right into it. You could also do this in a pot on the stove, or, if you're like my mother, boil water in a tea kettle, and then pour it in a measuring cup and stir the bran in.)

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, oats, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

Place softened butter in bowl of electric mixer with paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the brown sugar and continue beating until combined. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the bran and beat until well mixed. Add the mashed bananas and beat until combined.

Next add half of the flour mixture and beat until combined, and then add half of the yogurt (1/4 cup) and beat until combined. Repeat with remaining flour mixture and yogurt. Then add honey and beat until everything is well mixed. Thin with milk, as necessary. (I used the full 1/4 cup.)

Make the topping: Mix the topping ingredients together in a small bowl. You may need to press with the back of a spoon to break up the brown sugar.

Scoop batter by teaspoonfuls into prepared muffin cups.

Sprinkle topping evenly over muffins.

Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes, or until light golden brown and knife or toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean. (I have a gas oven, so note that cooking time can vary depending on your oven.)

Let muffins cool in pan for a couple of minutes and then remove from pan and place on rack to finish cooling (but feel free to eat some while they're still warm).

Eat plain or with butter!

I'm actually looking forward to having a couple of mini muffins for breakfast tomorrow along with a cup of Oikos honey Greek yogurt. Maybe I'm on a honey kick right now...

*I made 24 mini muffins and then saved the rest of the batter in the fridge. I know there's at least enough to make another 24 mini muffins, and I think a little more. Sorry I don't have an exact yield!

How do you add fiber and protein to your diet? What's your favorite kind of muffin? What's your favorite brand or flavor of yogurt?