Old Hippy Bran Muffins

IMG_7202What makes these Old Hippy Bran Muffins? Well, they are made by me, an old hippy*, and the recipe comes from Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book, the companion to Laurel’s Kitchen, a certifiable old hippy cookbook. At one point, if you were interested in cooking healthily, there weren’t many cookbooks to choose from. There was Let’s Cook it Right by Adelle Davis and then there was Laurel’s Kitchen, a vegetarian cookbook. The book had a hand-crafted, whole wheat feeling to it, and it seemed that everything I made from it was brown and redolent of cardboard. In a nostalgic mood last night, I sat down to browse through the Bread Book, and found a recipe for bran muffins that purported to be a  “mighty fine muffin.” Game on! I was looking for a plain, nutritious muffin for our lunches, but it had to taste good, too. These are made with bran, as opposed to bran cereal, and include buttermilk, which is often a signal for a tender muffin. I have to say, the resultant muffins were pretty much perfect–they rose nicely, and were moist and light. They taste branny but not cardboard-y. Yes, they’re brown, but they are supposed to be brown, so that’s okay. So, hey, man, here is the recipe:

Old Hippy Bran Muffins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

Single muffin
Single muffin

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups bran

3 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 egg
1-1/2 cups buttermilk

Sift flour, soda and salt together, and stir in the bran. Beat the oil and sugar and molasses together, and add the egg and buttermilk. Mix dry ingredients into liquids. Stir just until mixed, and there are no patches of flour, and then stop immediately. Spoon into the lined cupcake pans, filling about three-quarters full. Bake muffins 15 to 20 minutes. This makes 12 muffins.


GetImage.aspxBaking note: Instead of using fresh, liquid buttermilk, I used Saco Cultured Buttermilk, which is a dry powder. It works perfectly, and means that you will never have a half-finished carton of buttermilk languishing for weeks in your fridge. It can be found in most grocery stores in the aisle with baking ingredients. This recipe makes exactly twelve muffins, so if you add anything, like blueberries, for instance, be prepared with an additional muffin pan.

*I passed for a hippy at school, wearing wire rim glasses and buffalo hide sandals, but my heart wasn’t in it. I am, by nature, industrious, and am never happier than when learning or making something. Lying around and saying “Hey, man,” was really not my thing–it made me restless. I can remember ducking out of a sit-in to audit a lecture on Italian Renaissance painting, and listening enthralled to the lecturer, an Italian professor with a black eye patch. It was wonderful, and I went to every lecture after that. But there was an electricity in the air then that is totally absent now, and something exciting (both in good and bad ways) seemed to happen every day. I can remember going to see “Woodstock,” for the first time. We had a motorcycle accident on the way there, and both of us were thrown into the air. I fell on my right knee. We laughed it off and went on to the movie, and five minutes after it started, there was a bomb scare. We all had to look under our seats for a bomb, which is pretty extraordinary when you think about it.

9 thoughts on “Old Hippy Bran Muffins

  1. Love the recipe but I never understood why some people considered hippies to be lazy. The hippies I knew were constantly creating, traveling, building, gardening, baking…just say’n.

    1. That’s interesting, because in a way I agree with you. They created a whole new way of life, and the world hasn’t been the same since. Even just in terms of food, nothing was the same after. But, I do remember a certain rejection of all that was traditional in a way that wasn’t insightful. It seemed to me that they had escaped one box only to put themselves in another just as restrictive, and were judgmental of anyone considered “uptight.” This could be an interesting debate! Fran

      1. Good Morning, Fran,
        You sure seem like an old hippie to me, which is what drew me to your blog. Your questioning nature, love of the natural environment, the arts and creative baking were things I recognized as belonging to a kindred spirit. If someone was a real one then, they are still one and leaving a sit-in to go to lecture…oh, you little rebel. I love it!

  2. Fran, your last paragraph certifies you as a hippy, especially because you didn’t feel inclined to lay around saying “hey man”! It was those who did not follow you to the lecture who were fake – and, they’re likely part of the half-asleep bourgeois class now, or even the 1%. You’re a natural, insightful lady – that why I like you!! Peace, man . . . 🙂

  3. Ah, just read your above post! I agree with Ginene – the real world changers were the hippies who did the gardening and cooking in a NEW way; who questioned authority with insight and SPOKE it; who truly did “Let it be” and lived love and peace without criticism of individuals, but criticism of power structures – the principalities. In my book, Jesus was the original hippy.

  4. Sherri, thank you for your beautiful and succinct definition of a hippie. There were many, many things that we didn’t get right and a few that we did get right. Certainly, we threw the baby out with the bath water regarding traditions and the importance of rituals. I think we picked up the civil rights cart and carried it a little further. The biggest disappoint to me was that we, in no way, eliminated or even reduced the number of wars that we have been involved in during our lives. Maybe someday people will open their eyes again. I think Jesus would like that.

  5. We need another “youth quake.” I have read that this is what historians call those times when young people shook things up, for instance, in the 1920s and the sixties. Older people are too attached to the comfort of material things and have allegiances to some of the very power structures they criticized when young. But young people now seem co-opted by our culture of commercialism, feeling that smart phones, etc. are really necessary. So now I sound like an old coot as well as an old hippy! Fran

  6. Fran, no, you you do not sound like an old coot – you are correct that many of the young today are entrenched in commercialism. Many, though, ie, the “Occupy” kids get it. The movement was fairly large, but just wasn’t deep enough. A movement has to reach the soul-culture of a generation, as it did in the 20’s and 60’s to really quake.

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