Walnut-Date Muffins

October 17, 2009 § 2 Comments

walnutdatemuffin1

Last Saturday I picked up a twisty-tied baggie filled with large, grade A medjool dates from a Syrian shop by my old house.  Typically, I enjoy eating dates plain or I take out the pit and stuff a pecan, large walnut or scoop of peanut butter inside. Generally speaking, when I treat myself to dates, I can’t imagine eating them baked or stewed or blended into something new.

But, after my grocery rendezvous, I found an enticing recipe on the internet featuring dates!  I debated whether it was worth it to hack-up my delicious dates and throw them into a batter, fearing they’d lose their luster in a tangle of cinnamon and nutmeg flavors.  In the end, I decided to give it a shot.  These muffins were moist and savory, and each bite had a warm, gooey piece of date or a crunchy piece of walnut.  They also freeze wonderfully.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
scant 1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk (or other alternative or milk)
1/3 cup molasses*
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs

3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup dates, pitted & chopped
few pinches of extra all purpose flour

*COOKING TIP: To avoid molasses sticking to the measuring cup, simply grease the inside of the cup with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Measure desired amount of molasses into the cup.  When you pour the molasses into other liquids it will slide right out and leave little-to-no residue in the bottom.

Method:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease muffin tin.

2.  Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir with a fork to combine.

3.  In a separate bowl, lightly beat egg.  Add soy milk and vegetable oil.  Grease the 1/3 cup with vegetable oil (see above note) and measure molasses.  Whisk with a fork and incorporate into dry ingredients.  Fold in walnuts.  Roll dates in flour and fold into batter.

COOKING TIP: Because dates are gooey when cut and are prone to sticking together, tumbling dates in a sprinkling of white flour and then folding them into the batter ensures they are able to move uniformly throughout the dough and not clump together.

4.  Spoon batter into muffin trays 3/4 full.  Depending on the muffin size, the baking time will vary.  For small muffins, mine were set in the middle and clean (from the “knife test”) within 18-20 minutes.  For larger muffins, the cooking time will vary between 23-28 minutes.

5. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack so they set.  To remove muffins, carefully take a dull knife and run around the edge of each container and gently pry out.

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