Whole-Grain Bran Muffins

This is a much healthier bran muffin than the traditional high calorie and high fat version.

1 3/4 cups wheat bran (about 4 1/4 ounces)

1 cup whole pitted dates (about 6 ounces)
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup fat-free buttermilk
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 medium)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4.5 ounces whole-grain pastry flour (about 1 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Cooking spray

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Spread bran on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring once.

3. Combine dates and juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat; uncover and let stand 5 minutes. Place date mixture in a food processor or blender; process until smooth. Add buttermilk and next 4 ingredients (through vanilla); process until smooth.

4. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, bran, baking powder, and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add date mixture to bran mixture, stirring just until moist. Add eggs, stirring just until combined. Place 12 muffin cup liners in muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Bake at 350° for 28 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of muffins comes out clean. Remove muffins from pan; cool on a wire rack.