Oatmeal Bran Muffins with Raisins & Almonds

These are really, really good. After I made them the first time, DH has requested them over and over. The great thing is, I can make the batter the night before, and then he will bake them when he gets up in the morning, since he gets up an hour or two before me. The batter can be kept in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

1/2 c. (2 1/2 oz.) slivered, blanched almonds (I used sliced almonds)
1 c. (2 1/2 oz.) 100% Bran cereal
1 c. (8 fl. oz.) boiling water
1/2 c. (4 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c. (12 oz.) sugar
2 c. (16 fl. oz.) buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. almond extract (use pure, not the fake stuff) (you could also use orange extract, or vanilla if you prefer, but I love it with orange)
2 c. (10 oz.) all-purpose flour
2 c. (5 oz.) All-Bran cereal
1/2 c. (1 1/2 oz.) old-fashioned rolled oats
2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. (4 oz.) golden raisins (or dark raisins or dried cherries or dried blueberries - the dried blueberries are especially good)

Toast the almonds and set aside to cool.
Combine the 100% Bran cereal and the boiling water and let stand until cool. Meanwhile, beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, then add the buttermilk, eggs, extract, and the soaked cereal, beating well and scraping down the side of the bowl after each addition. Add the flour, All-Bran, oats, BS, and salt. Mix well. Fold in the raisins and almonds. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 weeks.

To Bake: Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. and grease 18 muffin cups or line with paper liners. Spoon in the batter, filling them full. Bake until browned on top and the edges begin to pull away from the pan - about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn out onto a rack immediately. Let cool for 10 minutes then serve warm.

Makes about 18 muffins

Source of recipe: Williams-Sonoma Brunch Entertaining book.