This entire weekend was such a beautiful bridge between summer and fall. Sharon was home from Atlanta, cause enough for a party. But we also took the opportunity to celebrate Dad’s birthday on Friday night which started with light, summery ales and grilled octopus, decidedly summery fare.
But come dinner, we were drinking Chateauneuf-du-Pape and eating cassoulet and pumpkin bread pudding – all very autumnal, you might even say wintery. But then we capped off the evening by going swimming at my uncle’s pool until midnight.
The following morning, we lingered and nestled. It seemed like even the sun was rising a little slower, and we were that kind of exhausted that only comes with belly-laughing and debating (two things families do best!). Couple that with late night swimming and we were out.
There was no rush to rise, we could feel the chill coming through the windowpanes. One brave, generous soul got up and the coffee grinder sounded. Classically conditioned, we all rubbed our eyes and came downstairs. Dad went out to get the paper, “It’s chilly out there!” he reported with a boyish smile.
Because chill requires warmth, we made muffins. Bran muffins. With white chocolate, cranberries, and a dash of cardamom. A teeny bit naughty, but almost all nice. As the muffins came out of the oven, the sun crested the trees and it was warm enough to sit outside. Summer was not gone.
We moved outside and enjoyed strong coffee and those sweet-but-not-too-sweet bran muffins. Though no one said it, I could feel our collective gratitude, to have everything wonderful in life in one, sweet spot.
Big Beautiful Bran Muffins with Cranberries and White Chocolate
Makes 1 dozen
3 cups bleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 cups plain low-fat plain yogurt (not Greek-style)
1 1/2 cups unprocessed wheat bran
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped white chocolate
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375. Spray 12 muffin cups (1/2-cup capacity) with vegetable cooking spray.
Mix flour, baking powder, baking, soda, salt and cardamom in a large bowl; mix yogurt, bran, sugar, molasses, oil, and eggs, in a medium bowl. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients to form a smooth batter. Fold in dried cranberries and chocolate; fill muffin cups with batter (a spring-action ice cream scoop works well).
Bake until golden brown 20 to 25 minutes. Let rest a couple of minutes then turn muffins onto a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Muffins can be stored in a zipper lock bag and frozen for up to 1 month.)