How to Make a Bran Muffin Look Pretty

Grandma Ibby’s Bran Muffins are not pretty. They are delicious but they are not photogenic. Not at all. They are also not overly exciting as far as culinary creations go. In fact, I saw many a similar recipe in the church/fundraising cookbooks I have been combing through lately and am pretty sure they were another 1960’s-70’s homecook’s staple.

So, now that you are intrigued and can hardly wait to make them, I will tell you that while they may not be pretty or exciting, they are delicious. D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S. My mom made them for us often and usually served them with a light, crisp Waldorf salad – I will most certainly have to tell you about that soon. And that Waldorf salad/bran muffin combo is by far one of my absolute favorite childhood meal memories.

So while I am excited to tell you about these muffins I do have to say, they were a challenge to photograph. Who says hummus and oatmeal are the hardest? I’m telling you, its bran muffins. I actually considered trying to artfully arrange some of the bran cereal with the other ingredients but a shot of flour, one egg, baking soda and a pile of shredded bran is about as exciting as the wall in the doctor’s office after 45 minutes of waiting; just staring at the mint green wall.

Making these bran muffins look pretty was important to me. Add that to the long list of comments that in my career driven 20’s I could never have imagined myself making. Get off of your brother’s head. Why are you standing on the table? No, NO Legos in the toilet. Don’t bite your toenails. You get the idea. Sorry, that last one might have been a little gross for a food post; unless you have boys, then you get me and are no longer grossed out by much.

You see, I have really been working on my photography skills, particularly my food photography skills, and my knowledge of the Nikon D3100 that is just begging me to use it to its full potential.  So, I am reading, studying and learning all there is to know about how to photograph food. Not because I want to be a professional photographer or because I’m obsessive or because I think everything needs to look perfect but because it is fun! Okay, so it is also because I like it when things look sort of perfect. Okay, and I’m a little bit obsessive. Do you think they make a bumper sticker that says “I ♥ Depth of Field?” No?


All-Bran Muffins


  • 3 cups 100% Shredded All-Bran
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Butter and flour or spray with baking spray, 2 muffin trays.

Mix together 1 cup of the All-Bran and 1 cup boiling water and set aside while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Add in the egg and mix to incorporate. Add the buttermilk and wet All-Bran mixture, mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt and then mix the dry ingredients into the wet. Fold in the remaining 2 cups dry All-Bran.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Yield: 24 muffins.


So, I am still a novice photographer and have a long way to go but I’m sure having a good time. I am absolutely inspired by so many of the photographs of my fellow bloggers; food, nature, architecture, landscape, you name it, you guys are amazing. Photography is such a true individual expression and I love that when I sit down to go through my reader, I can almost always tell who’s post I am about to read, just by looking at the featured photo.


I would love it if you would share with me any tips, thoughts or ideas you have for taking great photos. Or even if you’d just like share what you love about taking pictures; whether you consider yourself a photographer or not.


I did my best with the bran muffins. But really, it was the blackberries that stole the show!


16 thoughts on “How to Make a Bran Muffin Look Pretty

  1. apuginthekitchen

    I think your photo’s are fantastic, and those bran muffins are great, Grandma’s know how to cook for sure. You styled everything beautifully and made the plain and lowly muffin a thing of beauty.

    1. Welcome Company with Danielle Post author

      Thank you so much. I really appreciate your kind compliment. An no, you can’t go wrong with baked good from grandmas. I do love the styling process – although it does mean dinner is cold once in a while. Thankfully, my family is pretty understanding.

    1. Welcome Company with Danielle Post author

      Absolutely! And with the bloggers I read regularly, I can quite often recognize their work – your incredible photos included – just from that first photo. I love that people have their own very distinct styles! And a side note, I still can’t get over just how adorable your grandson is.

  2. Keep Calm and Eat On

    Food photography is so much fun. I didn’t know it was this much fun till i got to it. It’s been a year and I’m still learning, also learning not to be as obsessive as I used to be…haha! There are so many things I have learnt but the most important part was to have the confidence and enjoying it while I took the shots. Light is the key. I am dependant on sunlight and you can tell by my photos if it was going to rain. I am a Nikon girl as well and love my 50mm f/1.8. Just play with your camera and the light source and you’ll be amazed how much you have taught yourself.
    But, I have a challenge in front of me now….how to make them bran muffins pretty! Hmmm…

    1. Welcome Company with Danielle Post author

      If anyone can make the bran muffins pretty, it is you Debjani! I have set up a little “studio” in what used to be my craft room – which is funny since I never really enjoyed the attempt at being “crafty”. Photography and blogging is much more fun! The room has French doors and the light is wonderful – I am excited to move out of my kitchen, which is much darker, for some of my final shots. I hung a gauzy white curtain over the door to act as a filter if needed. You’ll have to let me know if you start seeing a difference. Your Mad Men cocktail photos were incredible! How did the evening turn out?

  3. Choc Chip Uru

    Haha I honestly do not think these babies had any problem being photographed, you make them appear as if they came from a professional cafe (and I bet they taste like that too!)
    Lovely blog!



I am so glad you have visited and would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment, your thoughts and feedback are important to me.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s