Preserve your memories. Keep them well.
What you forget, you can never retell.
~Louisa May Alcott
This recipe is adapted from one I found in my grandmother’s recipe notebook.
The original was titled ‘Brian’s Muffins’, and ‘good’ penciled in next to it.
The eponymous Brian was most likely my uncle – one of my father’s two younger brothers.
Today is the day we remember soldiers and those who died in combat, but for me – as I get older – it has grown also into a day to remember all those who lived through the tumult.
Very soon these pivotal historic events will have passed from living memory.
What stories will we preserve? And what meaning will we give them?
- 2 cups buttermilk or sour milk
- 1 cup boiling water
- 3 cups bran
- 2 cups chopped dates or use raisins if you prefer
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 2 teaspoons grated orange rind
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Grease muffin trays or line with paper liners.
In medium size bowl, combine buttermilk, boiling water and bran. Let sit for 10-20 minutes until bran has absorbed most of the liquid and has softened.
Place chopped dates in a small bowl and pour orange juice over. Heat in microwave for 1 -2 minutes until dates are soft and they have absorbed some of the orange juice.
Remove from microwave and add orange rind. Let sit a few minutes to cool.
Meanwhile, in large mixing bowl, beat oil, brown sugar, molasses and eggs until thoroughly combined.
Stir in softened bran and mix well.
Stir together whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and add to bran mixture. Stir gently to combine.
Add softened dates and fold in gently. Do not overmix the batter.
Spoon batter into the prepared pans. It will be somewhat runny.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.
Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack.
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