Mother's Day on StarChefs

Recipes Inspired by the Mothers of Celebrity Chefs and Cookbook Authors

Famous Bran Muffins
By Maida Heatter (more info)

"My mother was incredible, she did everything Martha Stewart does and more. Her bran muffins were a part of growing up and I can not remember being without them for very long. We used to take them on picnics, to the movies and Yankee Stadium, and always in our lunch boxes. These bran muffins have received a lot of attention since first appearing in my cookbook, Maida Heatter's Great Desserts (Knopf, 1982), but I fondly remember them as a staple for my father, Gabriel, during the Lindbergh trial in Flemington, NJ. My father was quite famous for his nightly news radio program and especially remembered for the phrase "Ah there is good news tonight!"coined during a WWII broadcast. The Lindbergh trial generated such large crowds that the only place left for my father to live was a small hotel room, and opportunities for decent meals were scarce. Therefore, my mother and I would drive up from Manhattan every few days and make a thermos delivery of hot vegetable soup and bran muffins. I think it is these muffins that made that small room bearable for so many weeks."

This is a great recipe to make the night before (up to adding the flour mixture) so that you can have fresh muffins ready in a jiffy the next morning.

Yields: 18 muffins


  • 2 ounces ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark or light molasses or honey
  • 2 eggs (large grade)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups bran cereal (do not use flakes, Maida recommends Kellogg's All-Bran)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup walnuts broken into large pieces
  • 1/2 cup unsifted whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unsifted all purpose white flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda


  1. If your oven can not fit both muffin tins side by side on the middle rack, adjust the 2 racks to divide the oven into 3rds.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Butter 18 2 3/4 inch muffin forms. Note: Buttering the tins will create a very nice crust for the muffins, if using paper cups the crust may be diminished but the muffins will keep longer.
  4. Melt butter over low heat. In a large mixing bowl combine the melted butter, sugar and molasses or honey and stir to mix.
  5. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and milk to mix.
  6. Slowly add the egg mixture to the butter mixture stirring with a wire whisk to blend. Mix in the bran and raisins and let stand for a few minutes. Or cover and refrigerate overnight. Stir in walnuts.
  7. Sift together flours, salt, and baking soda and add to bran mixture. Stir quickly with rubber spatula just enough to moisten dry ingredients.
  8. With a large spoon, fill prepared cups with batter about 2/3rds full.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes rotating muffin pans once to insure even cooking. Muffins will be done when they spring back from touch. Note: If muffin mixture has been refrigerated, cooking time will be 4 minutes longer. Take muffins from oven and remove from baking tins immediately and cool on rack.

Maida Heatter is the author of "Best Dessert Book Ever", "Book of Great Chocolate Desserts", "Book of Great Desserts", "Brand-New Book of Great Cookies", "Cakes, Cookies, Pies and Tarts", "Great American Desserts", "Great Cookies", "New Book of Great Desserts" (by Random House).

he is also known as the "The Chocolate Lady", title she received after her cookbook, The Chocolate Book, was the first cookbook to make the NY Times bestseller list.

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