Cream Cheese Filled Bran Muffins

1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup bran cereal (not flakes)
3/4 cup raisins or chopped dates, optional
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup 1% buttermilk
1 egg, partially beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup bran flakes
Filling (see below)

Preheat oven to 4000 F. Prepare filling (below) and set aside. Grease, or line standard muffin tin with cupcake papers.

Pour boiling water over bran cereal and optional raisin/dates; and allow to stand 5 minutes.

Stir in melted butter, buttermilk, egg, and sugar; mix well. Stir in flour, soda, and salt. Add bran flakes and stir just until combined. Place approximately 1 tablespoon batter in bottom of prepared muffin tins; gently spread batter over bottom of cup. Spoon in approximately 2 teaspoons prepared filling. Cover filling with additional muffin batter to fill cup approximately 3/4 full. Bake 20 minutes or until done. Makes 12-15 muffins
1 package (8 oz) low-fat cream cheese
2 T sugar
1 egg

Soften cream cheese; add sugar and egg. Beat together until smooth and creamy.

NOTE: If desired, soften 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, add 1 teaspoon milk and stir until smooth. Divide into small bowls; add a drop of food color to each bowl, and stir. Spread cream cheese over muffins. Use different the colored cream cheese in pastry tubes to create fun designs.

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