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Apricot Pecan Bran Muffins

1/3 cup pecan chips
1/3 cup sugar -- plus
1 tablespoon sugar -- divided
1 cup extra-fiber bran cereal
1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
4 ounces baby food pureed prunes
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
or golden raisins
2 egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400F. Line 12 (2 1/2-inch) muffin pan cups with paper baking cups. Set aside. Combine pecans and 1 tablespoon sugar in small bowl; set aside.

Combine cereal, buttermilk, prunes, apricots, egg whites and vanilla in medium bowl; stir to coat completely. Let stand 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in large mixing bowl. Make a well in center of flour mixture; add buttermilk mixture and stir just until blended.

Spoon batter into muffin cups. Sprinkle evenly with pecan mixture. Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan to rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12 servings

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