Ralph's, a Southern California grocery chain, is known for its dense, damp, and dark bran muffins. (They also make a light-colored bran muffin. Avoid these. Dry.) For many years, I hunted for a recipe for these, as they are fabulous! I found it! Enjoy!
1 c flour
1 c bran
4 t dry buttermilk solids (or dry milk solids)
¼ t baking powder
1 t baking soda
¼ t salt
1/3 c dark brown sugar, packed
¼ c dark corn syrup
2 T molasses
¼ c oil
1-2 t grated orange zest
1/3-½ c raisins
3 T sugar
3 T dark brown sugar, packed
3 T shortening, melted
2 T dark corn syrup
2 t water or raisin liquid (may need more or less; you should have a paste the consistency of soft butter; it should stay put on the sides of the muffin cups)
Chop raisins and re-hydrate in ½ c hot water. Drain, saving water. (Or rehydrate, drain, and puree in food processor, using drained liquid as needed. Reserve rest of raisin liquid in case it is needed for making the glaze.)
Mix glaze ingredients and spread 1 t on sides of each of 12 cups in a muffin tin, putting 1 t more on bottom of each cup. Set aside. (If you want to hedge your bets, prepare 3 extra cups.)
Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Combine wet ingredients, raisins, and orange zest; mix well.
Add wet ingredients to dry, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Fill muffin cups 2/3s full. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until a pick comes out clean.
Invert immediately on a plate to cool. Scrape out any of the glaze remaining in the cups.
If the muffins don't look as goopy as you'd like (they should be very sticky), mix 2 T molasses and 3 T brown sugar (add a little raisin liquid or water if needed), and put about 2 t on each muffin while hot.
Put water in the muffin cups immediately.
Note: I am pretty sure there is some crushed pineapple in these muffins, too, so I add 1/4 c canned crushed pineapple (well-drained). There aren't any nuts in Ralph's version, but I don't see why you couldn't add some chopped walnuts or pecans.