Sunday Morning Coffee: Huckleberry Honey Bran Muffins
When we lived in Port McNeill, at the north end of Vancouver Island, our kids loved to go gathering sweet/tart bright red huckleberries that grew in abundance along roadsides and in spare lots. One long August afternoon our 5-year-old son JD and his buddy Ryan went off to pick berries for pies. When the two boys hadn’t returned after several hours, we became concerned and sent the dads off to find them. There was no sign of the pair in the usual haunts where berries were plentiful.
Just as we were starting to panic, Frank found the wanderers, footsore and weary but triumphantly carrying full berry pails. They had trudged almost three miles each way to the municipal airport [alongside the main highway] in search of the “best” berry picking! Needless to say, they were soundly scolded while their moms thanked God for keeping them safe.
JD and Ryan are in their thirties now with 6 1/2 children of their own between them…but in huckleberry season, they’re still curly-haired little boys in my memory. I’m betting the two of them would still walk a fair distance for a huckleberry pie, or for these slightly more healthy treats.
HUCKLEBERRY HONEY BRAN MUFFINS
Bake at 375° Makes 12 medium-sized muffins.
You only need about a cup of berries for wonderful moist muffins. If you don’t have huckleberries, you could substitute chopped fresh cranberries or any other firm, tangy fruit. This recipe was adapted from my old favourite source for muffins Muffin Mania [if you can find a copy of this book – buy it!]
- 1 cup natural bran
- 1 cup buttermilk [substitute 1 cup milk+2 T lemon juice OR 3/4 cup yoghurt + 1/4 cup milk]
- 1/3 cup margarine
- 1/2 cup plus 2 T. brown sugar [I use dark brown]
- 2 T. honey
- 1 egg
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup +/- huckleberries or other tart fruit washed and picked over
Stir milk into bran and let sit. Sprinkle 1 T brown sugar over huckleberries.
Beat margarine with sugar. Add honey and egg and beat well. Stir in bran mixture.
Stir together flour, powder, soda and salt. Add all at once to wet ingredients. Stir in huckleberries.
Spoon into very well greased muffin pan. Sprinkle tops with remaining brown sugar. Bake at 375° for about 20 minutes, or until browned and firm to the touch. These muffins will tend to spread rather than rise very high: if you wish a more cake-like type of muffin, increase the flour to 1 1/2 cups.
I split these in half and buttered them for morning coffee: everyone who had one half ended up taking at least one more, and most of them wrapped up a second muffin to take back to their rooms for a snack!
If you make this recipe with huckleberries or another favourite fruit, I’d love to hear from you.