When I was a toddler we lived in Bishop’s Tachbrook in England. I don’t remember much about the place, I was only 4 ½ when we moved to Australia. I have been back once to Bishop’s Tachbrook when I stayed with my Aunt and Uncle when I was 16 but it was a flying visit to see the house and that was about it. However, if the stories my Mum tells are true, it is where I developed my love of blackberries. According to my Mum, she only had to turn her back for a few minutes and I would be gone. But I was always easy to find. I would be down the back of the garden plundering the blackberry bushes.
I have extended my berry repertoire to include a love of pretty much all berries. I am one of those people who buy the first raspberry punnets of the season, even if they are an astronomical price. One of my all-time favourite desserts is a bowl of fresh blackberries or raspberries with a light dusting of caster sugar.
My berry love generally doesn’t extend to muffins cooked with berries. I like muffins with berries in them but I don’t love them. I find there is generally too much other stuff going on that the berries don’t shine through. However, I thought these muffins from smitten kitchen might be the exception. In the photos you can clearly see lovely juicy whole berries. Plus they incorporated bran, which I like to try and sneak in to my diet while tricking my tastebuds into thinking it is not eating healthy stuff. These apple bran muffins were perfect for that and I had high hopes for these blue sky bran muffins.
I may also have been swayed by the adorable chubby fingers in the photo on smitten kitchen. How cute are they!
I made the muffins as per the recipe on smitten kitchen and using frozen berries. I also added the 1 tsp of vanilla extract and about ½ teaspoon of lime zest which are listed on the recipe as optional. With hindsight I probably should have made the recipe for bran muffins with sour cream that is mentioned in the smitten kitchen post for those who are not totally sold on bran muffins. I found the blue sky bran muffins a bit too branny for my tastebuds. They are just a bit too healthy. The batter should have been a warning of things to come. Normally I end up eating way too much of the raw batter when I make muffins but not this time. It just tasted too damn healthy.
Something also went a bit wrong with my cooking as when I cut in to the muffins they become a crumbly mess and don’t hold their shape. Not really a problem except in terms of trying to add a smear of butter but it does make me thing that I didn’t mix things enough or mixed them too much. I also only got 9 muffins out of the batter not the 12 in the recipe. I am not sure why this happened as I measured out the batter as suggested in the recipe and I hadn’t consumed much along the way.
The calories for each muffin without butter is about 200 – that is if you get 9 muffins as I did. The preparation time is about 5-10 minutes and the cooking time – including mixing – is about 25 minutes. My muffins were in the oven for the full 18 minutes.
My beautiful silicone muffin tray was again fabulous and if you don’t have one I can’t recommend them enough. I put mine on a baking tray to keep it a bit more rigid when I am getting it in or out of the oven. The tray is quite floppy and the first time I used it nearly ended up with batter all down my front as it drooped at a critical moment. But the flexibility does make it easier to get the muffins out once cooked.