Saturday, November 07, 2009

Alyce Underbakke's Refrigerator Bran Muffin Mix


Although not a connoisseur of televised advertising, I have noticed a shift in emphasis as years pass that may or may not have deep societal implications --- from irregularity to erectile dysfunction.

I’m not prepared to analyze the shift, only to say I’m slightly ashamed to mention it in the same sentence as “Alyce Underbakke’s refrigerator bran muffin mix.” The only excuse for doing so is the fact that the muffins that result from the mix are good for the former, although I can’t speak to the latter.

Alyce won’t mind, I expect, because she is a lady, a breed that along with gentleman is vanishing. By lady I mean a mixture of good humor, profound common sense, grace and very good manners. The term gentleman is defined that way, too; nothing here has anything to do with my views concerning appropriate roles for women and men.

During the years of our working relationship, Alyce (a banker’s spouse) and her sidekick Bonnie (a farmer), a lady, too, were the office staff at Thompson Community School. Superintendents and principals often mistakenly thought they ruled the roost, but all seemed to lack one or more of traits necessary for gentlemanship. Alyce and Bonnie ruled with good humor, common sense, grace and good manners. Generations call their names blessed.

So I think of Alyce every time I whip up a batch of her muffin mix and I do that often --- not because of the regularity factor, but because they taste good, are good for you and convenient besides. Since the mix stores well for up to two weeks, you can makes as many at a time as you like. A muffin or two along with a piece of fruit and glass of juice make an excellent quick breakfast.

One word of warning: These are not glamour muffins like those cakey things served at Perkins and elsewhere. They are tidy and dense and in order to produce a satisfying mushroom muffin shape you must fill baking cups to the brim, even heaping. That is not a problem because the batter becomes very stiff when refrigerated, but don’t worry about that because its components remain mixed and suspended. Just spoon into muffin cups and bake.

The recipe consists of three steps, as follows:

Step 1: Pour a cup of boiling water over a cup of dry Kellogg’s All-Bran cereal (or its generic equivalent) in a small bowl and allow to cool.

Step 2: Mix the following ingredients very well in any manner you like in a big bowl. One and a half cups of sugar, a half cup of softened butter, two and a half teaspoons of baking soda, a half teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of vanilla, two eggs, two and a half cups of flour, two cups of dry all-bran cereal and a pint of buttermilk.

Step 3: Mix the Step 1 mixture into the Step 2 mixture.

You’ll get better results if you allow this mixture to work overnight in the refrigerator before baking. When you want muffins, fill muffin cups to the brim and bake for 25 minutes in a pre-heated 400-degree oven. Store the balance of the batter in the refrigerator for up to two weeks and use at will.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've used a similar recipe for years but it is not recommended keeping it in the refrigerator for 2 weeks because of the eggs. My recipe makes 2 doz. and I bake them the next AM and freeze what I don't use.