Tuesday, May 08, 2007
"Pail Full of Muffins"
It can be especially challenging to find good, useful gifts for older folks. For the past several years, I’ve done something very different for my mother-in-law. I make up a batch of this muffin batter and place it in one of those covered plastic Christmas buckets from Wal*Mart. The containers I'm talking about are similar to those below, but quite a bit larger.
I give her this muffin batter along with a jar of homemade hot chocolate mix and a box of clementines. (The first year, I also gave her a silicone muffin pan.) She absolutely loves this gift and often returns the bucket and the jar for refills later on.
PAIL FULL OF MUFFINS
Combine the following in a very large bowl:
1 box bran flakes -- about 15 to 16 ounces
1 quart buttermilk
2 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon salt
Let mixture cool until it’s lukewarm.
In another bowl, cream together:
1 cup shortening -- I use a butter flavor Crisco® stick
2 cups sugar
Add the creamed ingredients to the bran mixture.
5 cups flour
5 teaspoons baking soda
Stir the sifted ingredients into the bran mixture.
Muffins may be baked right away, but keep in mind that this recipe produces at least 5 dozen muffins! The idea is to store the batter in a covered container, like a Tupperware® bowl or a covered plastic pail, in the refrigerator, then bake the muffins a few at a time as needed. The batter will keep for at least a month in the fridge.
When ready to bake, fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups only half full. Bake at 375º for 20-25 minutes, until the muffins test done.
(This recipe originally called for 3 cups sugar and a combination of bran buds and all-bran. Those cereals are more expensive, and I have found that the bran flakes, even the store brands, work just as well.)
If you have an older person to shop for, you may like to try this gift idea!