About Me

Sunday, January 23, 2011

How To Make Raisin Bran Muffins.

My paternal grandmother's name was Nonnie. Technically her name was Evelyn. Her grandchildren all called her Nonnie.

Yesterday I realized that I can not picture Nonnie outside of her kitchen. And not even in any part of her kitchen except the space between the sink and her table. She either stood or sat at that side of the table and held court.

My Nonnie could cook. And she always made, "stuff." Us grandkids named her desserts, "Oreo stuff, Jello stuff, etc." Main ingredient + "stuff."

 She also made killer Raisin Bran Muffins.

Sunday, I attended a brunch. I had volunteered two sure winners: 1. Emma's "strata" stuff (egg, cheese, ham casserole type situation) 2. My Nonnie's Raisin Bran Muffins.  I have made the muffins once before.

Due to my insane schedule, I was at the grocery store shopping for ingredients way past my bedtime. And it took several trips to several different stores. I don't want to get bogged down with the details but the punchline is: don't ever assume you have eggs at home. Sage advice from me to you.

The next morning I got up early enough to execute said Raisin Bran Muffins before the brunch. Halfway in I thought to myself, "Something isn't quite right." This is what I was using:


And this actual bran(pictured below) + raisins is what I used last time: 

The last time I made them I used real bran and raisins NOT raisin bran cereal and they turned out exactly like my Nonnie's. So, understandably, when I realized I was not following the recipe and using a different ingredient,  I panicked. I didn't know what I was doing, how they would turn out, and I was making them for an event. 

The long story short is they were different than my Nonnie's but completely fine and edible and people enjoyed them.  

What I thought about is how this story would have amused my Nonnie. I can picture her sitting at her kitchen table, laughing her raspy laugh that ended in coughing, and her eyes tearing up from laughing so hard at her overdramatic granddaughter's cooking shenanigans. I can see myself wildly gesturing as I describe my rising panic over the use of raisin bran cereal as opposed to wheat bran and raisins. I can see her getting ready to tell me that raisin bran cereal will work just fine but stopping herself so that I can carry on in my loud and exaggerated fashion about the perils of trying to imitate her greatness. And then I see her checking the Franklin Times to discuss with me whether or not I am on the Honor Roll. But that's an entirely different story for a different day. Today I just want you to know that my Nonnie made really great Raisin Bran Muffins. And mine ain't so bad either. 

Have you ever botched a recipe and it turned out okay? Or was a humiliating disaster? Leave a comment and tell me about it. 

In the meantime, the first two picture below are of the Raisin Bran Muffin process, the final product was poorly photographed on my part and so not included. Also is a pic of the strata, which was completely drama free. Save the 1 AM run to Wal-Mart for eggs.  


  1. Humiliating Disaster
    I'm pretty well known for making Monster Cookies, but have been occasionally praised for my pies that I would take to church suppers.
    On one occasion, a fellow church member said he had lots of blackberries, and would share them with us, if I would bake him a Blackberry pie for a family reunion they were having.
    I thought I would make it really special and so used Corn Starch instead of flour for thickening so the filling would be shiny.  It didn't seem quite right as I mixed the berries and corn starch, so I added a little more and then put it into the oven to bake.  Within a half hour, the pie was "foaming"!  So I took it out before it made a mess in the oven.  I stuck a knife in it and tasted it. . . .?
    I think it tasted like Blackberry Salt Soup, but, of course, I had never made that before, so wasn't sure! 
    Probably you have already guessed, but I had used Baking Soda, instead of corn starch!!

    Praise the Lord! I had neglected to practice procrastination, so had plenty of time to bake another, (with MY share of the berries)!  I don't think that is really why they quit coming to church!

  2. That is a GREAT story! So funny! 

  3. Meghaun, I have the same story to share.  For Patrick's birthday years ago I made Nonnie's "Oreo Cookie Dessert" (see The Scott Family Cookbook).  Also referred to as "Oreo stuff". There is a bottom oreo crust layer.  Then a layer of ice cream on top of that.  Then you're supposed to spread a layer of chocolate sauce on top.  The sauce is made from 1 can carnation milk, cup of sugar, 1/2 cup butter and unsweetened chocolate.  I boiled the sauce on the stove "until very thick" as per her recipe.  It was really really thick.  So thick that it did not spread on the ice cream layer.  At all.  It came out of the sauce pot in small - medium sized blobs.  It was ugly.  And stupid.  And mostly I just became angrier and angrier at the dessert with each new blob.  It's been too long to remember, but I don't think it tasted very good either.  What went wrong, I'll probably never know.  I wrote Nonnie a letter about the whole incident and she, of course, thought it was very humorous.  

    So did she really use bran from a box?  In this same cookbook under "Raisin Bran Muffins"  it says "2-1/2 cup Raisin Bran"  But I see that next to that recipe I wrote "wrong" and underlined it.  I wonder what that was about.  ?