The quickest and healthiest bran muffins

Photographer: Emma
makes 12

There is a new kind of baking on the block that would make your grandmother drop a stitch. That new kind of baking chiefly involves using healthier alternatives in some of the old favourite baked recipes. One might surreptitiously slip pureed black beans or canned apples in chocolate brownie for example, or courgette and beetroot in chocolate cake, or replace the staples with ingredients such as rice bran oil, agave sugar, artificial sweeteners, sugar free chocolate, vegan spreads, gluten free and wheat free flours and raising agents. It’s a nutritionists dream to hear people experimenting with recipes to make them healthier, and if like me you bake regularly, it helps in the ongoing battle to stay healthy and feel amazing.

Immediately out of the oven, if you look very closely you will see a tiny halo encircling each muffin top – they are that good for you. Mashed banana, trim milk and only a dash of canola oil make these muffins truly angelic.

In saying all this, in my opinion there aren’t many things as blissful as a piece of Aunt Dulcie’s shortbread; sweet and buttery, changing her recipe to include olive oil spread or artificial sweetener would be utter blasphemy.



1 cup wholemeal flour
1 cup baking bran
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda

¼ cup golden syrup or agave nectar
1 egg
¾ cup milk
1 mashed banana
¼ cup canola oil

½ cup sultanas
¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped (or any other nuts)
¼ cup pumpkin seeds


1. Heat oven to 180ºC.
2. Sieve the baking powder and soda into the flour and bran. Mix to combine.
3. Heat the golden syrup in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.
4. Whisk the golden syrup with the egg, milk, mashed banana and canola oil.
5. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry and add the sultanas, nuts and seeds and fold a couple more times. You want to fold the mixture as little as possible so you don’t get uneven peaks on top. There may be small lumps in the mixture and that’s ok.
6. Spoon into greased muffin tins and bake for 15-20 minutes.