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Open Sesame Deluxe Bran Muffins

Sesame Bran Muffin

When Bob was in college, he had to take a course in Modern Art because the courses in classical art were unavailable. So he studied paintings of soup cans, old sofas, and the results of tossing paint at a canvas. He made an attempt to appreciate a pushed-over pile of railroad ties, several used vacuum cleaners encased in glass, and sculptures created from miscellaneous pieces of scrapyard metal all welded together. What most impressed Bob was the professor, a middle aged woman who swayed about as she talked. She was always enthusiastic about the artworks she showed, offering frequent praise saying, "I love this piece because it shows such verve."

Forty years later, Bob finally understands the meaning of verve, for these muffins are the embodiment of verve. They can put life into your tastebuds (the sweetness does that), life into your smile (the dates and raisins do that), and life into your whole body (the fiber does that). And don't let me forget to mention the tasty, toasted, nutlike effect that the sesame seeds produce. Yum!

2 cups unprocessed bran (I used Red Hill Wheat Bran)
1 cup oat bran (I used Hodgson Mill Oat Bran hot cereal)
1 cup boiling water

Mix the above in a medium size bowl and let set for 10 minutes.

1 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 cup of raisins and dates (in this recipe I finely chopped the dates and used 3/4 cup of dates to 1/4 cup raisins - you can use all raisins or all dates, or 1/2 raisins and 1/2 dates.  Note: If the dates are very fresh, they might stick together.  In that case, just add about 2 teaspoons of flour to the dates and mix together. 
1 cup walnuts, chopped
2 cups buttermilk  (if you don't have buttermilk on hand, take a 2 cup measuring cup and measure into cup 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.  Fill the remaining with milk to make 2 cups)
2/3/4 cup whole wheat flour

In a large bowl, mix together the honey, vegetable oil.  Stir in the sesame seeds, molasses, salt, baking soda.  Stir in the raisin/date mixture and chopped walnuts.   Add the whole wheat flour and the bran mixture and mix (I used a mixer) just until all ingredients are combined.  Do not overmix.  Set aside.  Prepare glaze by mixing all ingredients listed below for the glaze.  Mix well. 

1 stick butter, softened
6 tablespoons brown sugar
5 tablesppons honey
4 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water

Spray muffin tins with a vegetable spray like Pam.  Using a brush, spread the glaze over the sides and bottom of the muffin tins (I used one jumbo muffin tin for six, and one medium size muffin tin for twelve).  Use liberal amounts of the glaze for each muffin tin.  Fill the muffin tins about 3/4 full.  You will have enough glaze to spread over the top of the muffin mix.  You will have leftover batter to make about three more jumbo muffins or half a dozen more.  You can save the leftover batter in the refrigerator for a week.

Bake at 325F for 30 minutes or until done. 

Bob wanted to call these "Kitchen Sink Muffins" because they have so many ingredients--raisins, dates, nuts, sesame seeds, honey, molasses--it's all good. During his culinary career, Bob has discovered that there seems to be a direct connection between good taste and the number of ingredients. The flavors like to play with each other, marry each other, and have flavor youngsters. (Who, for example, would cook without a good dose of several appropriate spices?) With these muffins, the flavors are all there. The walnuts supply a tasty crunch, and raisins and dates do their thing. Secret: We used medjool dates. You could also try honey dates or barhi dates because both of those are sweet and delicious. Bob does not recommend the common deglet noor dates because he doesn't like them. Just a personal bias.

But that brings up the point: If you tried a date and it was deglet noor and you didn't like it--so now you think you don't like dates--try a medjool, barhi, or honey date. Dates are like churches--some are sweet, some dry, some rich and filling, some a bit off putting, some keep you wanting more.

So, while we are recommending, if you went to a church once and didn't like the "taste," don't think now that "I don't care for church." Try another one. Paul says, "I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some" (1 Corinthians 9:22). Have a muffin and think about it. Share a muffin with a friend and talk about it. Someone might just be knocking at the door (Revelation 3:20).

Try one of these muffins with a big dollop of thick, heavy whipped cream on top. Oh, my goodness! It might not sound dietetic, but when you eat one, it will make you want to get up and dance around with joy. And that could burn some calories. Who knew?

Other recipes of note
Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches
Very Raspberry Very Merry Coffee Cake with Chocolate
Spinach and Bacon Quiche
Quadruple Chocolate Brownies
Banana-Apple Bread Pudding

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