Orange Date and Almond Muffins
I’ve been on a muffin making kick again.
Putting on a batch of muffins is such an easy way to take care of almost a full week worth of my husband’s breakfasts... what’s not to love?
I’m always playing around with the base flavours and inclusions, coming up with fun new combos.
I’ve actually got a huge backlog of muffin recipes at this point - I’m considering doing them up as a mini cookbook, maybe an e-book?
I’ve had an abundance of dried dates around here, purchased as part of our 2020 “stay at home snack foods”.
They’re relatively healthy, but great for satisfying a sweet tooth, also.
I decided to use some up in a batch of muffins.
Muffin Recipe Development
Developing this recipe was a bit different from my usual muffin recipe design.
Usually, I’m mostly just concerned about:
Balancing Moisture Levels
No one likes a hockey puck for a muffin, so this is an important one.
I like to include fruit in a lot of my muffins - for added flavour, fibre, etc.
Sometimes it’s as canned pulp, like in my Maple Pumpkin Spiced Muffins.
Sometimes, it’s as a quick homemade puree, such as with the canned pineapple used in my Pina Colada Muffins.
And sometimes, it’s just as chopped fruit or whole berries, such as with my Raspberry Nectarine Muffins.
Fruit also adds moisture, so I have to offset the added moisture (milk, juice) to account for any coming from the added fruit.
The amount of moisture added depends on the type of fruit and the way it was added. A shredded apple adds more moisture to a recipe, than the juices that may leech from the inclusion of fresh blueberries, for instance.
Sometimes I’ll add spice to complement whatever else is going on in a muffin.
Other times, a recipe will need a little more salt to properly balance things.
And sometimes, the sugar level will need to be tweaked slightly, to balance other elements (Usually a sour or bitter fruit inclusion.).
Developing this recipe included a bit of problem solving that I don’t usually need to worry about:
Balancing the Sugar
Something that some may not realize is that the sugar level in muffins affects more than just the sweetness and flavour. It also affects the texture, the way the muffin rises, and more.
If you’ve ever made muffins and either accidentally left out the sugar, or drastically reduced the sugar content intentionally, you probably ended up with rubbery hockey pucks.
Dried dates are VERY sweet.
With some specialty diets, they can even be used as a sugar replacement!
Had I decided to just toss in some chopped dates, this wouldn’t really be much of a concern - I could keep the batter pretty basic, and just have really sweet muffins.
... But I decided to get *extra* with it.
Orange, Date, and Almond Muffins
Rather than adding chunks of chopped dried dates to this muffin, I decided to use the dates to replace part of the sugar.
I already knew I wanted to include orange in the muffin, so I decided to cook the chopped dates down in some orange juice, extracting sugars in the process.
This would not only allow me to include dates without it being an *overly* sweet muffin, but it would also allow the date flavour to permeate the batter more.
I decided to use brown sugar for the added sugar, as the “cooking dates in orange” was already reminding me of sticky toffee pudding.
May as well lean into it, right?
Using this technique rendered the dates into a lovely texture for a muffin, also. There are little bites of semi-firm, gooey, kind of caramelly dates throughout it.
We usually make these muffins as-is, but they’re also great with a bit of spice added.
I love a bit of cardamom with anything orange/date, but other “Warm” spices work well also. Try with a bit of cinnamon, maybe a little bit of ground cloves as well!
How to Make Orange Date and Almond Muffins
Zest and juice the orange, measure out ½ cup of orange juice.
In a small saucepan, combine the measured orange juice with the chopped dates. Bring to a simmer, cook for 5 minutes. Turn heat off.
Add butter to the pot, stir until melted and remove from heat. Allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Line 12 muffin cups with liners, or spray with baking spray.
In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, almonds, orange zest, baking powder, cardamom, and salt. Set aside.
Peel and grate the apple; add grated apple, milk, eggs, and vanilla to the cooled date mixture. Stir well to combine.
Add mixture all at once to the flour mixture, stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy.)
Divide batter between 12 prepared muffin cups, filling each to almost full.
Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 20 - 22 minutes or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.
Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups; serve warm.
More Muffin Recipes!
Are you a fellow fan of muffins? I have some more marvellous muffin recipes for you!
Apple Blueberry Muffins
Breakfast Corn Muffins
Cardamom Pear Streusel Muffins
Healthier Apple Oatmeal Muffins
Maple Pumpkin Spiced Muffins
Peach Cobbler Muffins
Pina Colada Muffins
Raspberry Nectarine Muffins
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Orange Date Almond Muffins
- 1 Orange
- 1 cup Chopped dates
- ½ Cup Butter
- 2 ¼ Cups All-Purpose Flour
- ½ Cup Brown Sugar packed
- ½ cup Sliced almonds
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- ½ - 1 tsp Cardamom optional
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 Large Apple
- ⅔ Cup Milk
- 2 Large Eggs Lightly beaten
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- Zest and juice the orange, measure out ½ cup of orange juice.
- In a small saucepan, combine the measured orange juice with the chopped dates. Bring to a simmer, cook for 5 minutes. Turn heat off.
- Add butter to the pot, stir until melted and remove from heat. Allow to cool.
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Line 12 muffin cups with liners, or spray with baking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, almonds, baking powder, cardamom, and salt. Set aside.
- Peel and grate the apple; add grated apple, milk, eggs, and vanilla to the cooled date mixture. Stir well to combine.
- Add mixture all at once to the flour mixture, stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy.)
- Divide batter between 12 prepared muffin cups, filling each to almost full.
- Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 20 - 22 minutes or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.
- Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups; serve warm.