All The Best Fine Foods is gearing up to celebrate our 30th anniversary, and it’s just about impossible for me to believe that it was thirty years ago this September when the ‘two Janes’ (Jane Lash and I) opened the doors of All The Best Breads in a slightly run-down, century-old building at 1099 Yonge St.
We were not too concerned back then with gluten-free, low fat, calorie count, allergens galore…we just wanted to offer our customers the very best selection of breads and pastries in the city…all natural ingredients , freshly baked and tasting great… together with seasonal, local, delicious things to enjoy alongside.
We’re taking trips down memory lane over the next few weeks, remembering what Toronto was like and the foods we ate in 1984. We’re planning lots of special events throughout September and combing through our old recipe cards to bring back a few favourite dishes from those times, like the one below.
Big Batch Bran Muffins
These muffins, made with natural bran and buttermilk were the first products we made in our small counter top mixer when All The Best opened the doors in 1984. The batter is prepared ahead and is ready to be scooped and baked as needed. A favourite addition to the mix still today… grated apple, raisins and a hint of freshly grated orange zest.
6 1/2 cups (1.625 L) natural bran
4 cups ( 1 L) whole wheat, or half all-purpose and half whole wheat flour
7 tsp (35 ml) baking soda 11/2 tsp (7 ml) salt 8 eggs
2/3 cup (150 ml) packed brown sugar
3 cups ( 750 ml) buttermilk
1 1/3 cup (325 ml) sunflower oil
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) liquid honey
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) light (fancy) molasses
Optional additions: grated carrot, apple, blueberries, pears, dates, raisins, toasted walnuts , approx 1 cup (250 ml)
In a bowl, combine bran, flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar, buttermilk, oil, honey and molasses until smoothly blended. Add flour mixture. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate up to six weeks.
Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C). Stir optional additions into batter. Spoon batter into paper lined muffin cups, filling almost full.
Bake in preheated oven until top springs back when lightly touched, 20-25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack, then remove from pan and let cool.
Tip: Measure oil first then honey and molasses. The sticky stuff slips out easily from the measuring cup.
Makes 4 dozen muffins
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All The Best,
PS. Here’s one of the great cookbooks that influenced us in 1984: On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee. Hailed by Time magazine “as a minor masterpiece”, this book provided understanding of where our foods come from, what exactly they’re made of, and how good cooking transforms them. We’re still learning!
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