Every time I've been lucky enough to cruise, a good friend suggests picking up a bran muffin to put in my backpack as we leave the ship at each port. This is a great idea for several reasons. A bran muffin has to be the 'sturdiest' bread around, able to withstand life at the bottom of your bag without crumbling to pieces. It's also moist and just sweet enough when you realize you're hungry and don't want to cave in to whatever the local junk food might be.
I did a Google search to see if there is a recipe out there for Holland America's bran muffin. This (according to many readers) is about as close as it gets. It only lacks a dusting of bran "twigs" on top of each muffin - which gives it eye appeal. Because, face it - bran is never pretty!
These are pretty close in my estimation. The only difference was the presence of raisins. Raisins are not required, but certainly make a more flavorful muffin.
Recipe from kingarthurflour.com
1 cup boiling water
1 cup bran cereal (buds or twigs) - OR - 1-3/4 cups bran flakes
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2-1/2 cups flour
2-1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 to 1-1/2 cups raisins or currants (optional)
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 cups bran cereal (buds or twigs) - OR - 3-1/2 cups bran flakes
In a small bowl, pour boiling water over the 1 cup of bran cereal. Allow the mixture to cool to lukewarm, about 45 minutes.
While the mixture cools, blend together the flour, soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the raisins or currants. Set aside.
Whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and sugar. Combine this with the flour/raisin mixture. Stir in the dry cereal.
Finally, add the water, bran, oil mixture - stirring until thoroughly combined. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight (and up to 2 weeks).
Preheat your oven to 375°. Lightly grease muffin pan, or line with papers. Bake as many or as few as you like, as this recipe can "live" in your refrigerator for a couple of weeks.
Heap the thick batter in the muffin cups, a generous 1/4 cup is a good amount to use.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until tests done.
Remove and tip muffins in the pan to prevent bottoms from steaming and becoming soggy. Serve warm, or transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Makes about 18 standard, or 45 mini muffins.