Dates, orange and walnut muffins

I have baked these muffins for a charity morning gathering and they went down well.

These dates muffins are not very sweet because I replaced white sugar with demerara sugar, which goes well with the taste of dates. The crowd who tried them enjoyed the flavours and especially that the muffins had a sweet note but not overwhelming. Overall, it was pleasant with a hot cup of tea.

Dates are the star of the show. I remember the first time I had date muffins in Dubai, it was instant love.



The things with dates is that I used a very soft and chewy variety called rotab which I was happy to find in a Turkish grocery store. They came from Iran and look exactly like these. They give extra moist and natural sweetness to the baked recipe.

Rotab is a date that is still "fresh" and hasn't lost all it's "juice". I tried an amazing variety in Dubai when I lived there. I quite didn't know what was that large prune-shaped fruit oozing with natural  honey-like  liquid that I was offered. So a local person explained to me that these were fresh dates, not dried yet. That was a pleasant discovery.

If you can't find rotab, you may want to break a date paste into tiny cubes or use medjool dates for best results, the dry dates won't really do unless you steam them.



Ingredients
Makes 12 medium-size muffins
Prep: 10 min -baking: 25 min

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar (1/3 white caster sugar and 2/3 Demerara sugar)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch of baking soda
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • ½ tsp of cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 tsp of orange zest or chopped candied orange peel
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup oil +  2 tbsp
  • 1 cup of soft dates, chopped
  • ¼ cup of toasted walnuts (optional)

Decoration
  • 50g of white chocolate
  • 20g of butter
  • 3 dates

Preparation

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees C. Line up muffin cases in muffin tins

Mix all the powders and set aside.

Mix the wet ingredients: lightly beaten egg, milk and oil. Combine with the dry ingredients using a spatula.

Add the walnuts, the zest and the dates at the end and combine. Like any muffin dough, you shouldn't overmix.

Bake for 25 min approx until it's golden and that the toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool over a wire rack.

Decoration

Melt chocolate over bain-marie, add the butter and stir.

Spoon a little bit of the chocolate over the muffins and top with the 1/4 of a date or a halved- walnut.

Serve at room temperature.




Note: you could replace the dates with another soft ingredient and the walnut with another nut. The basic recipe remains the same.



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