Dates are packed with an impressive list of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Dates are an excellent source of iron, contains 0.90 mg/100 g of fruits. Iron, being a component of hemoglobin inside the red blood cells, determines the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. It is highly recommended for vegetarians to counter anemia.
If you are someone like me, you find dates are a tad too sweet to eat as is. It is with great difficulty that i manage to eat a couple of them, and then get really saturated with it! So, I'd rather like to add them as sweeteners to my milkshakes, smoothies and so on, which will have an added benefit of reducing sugar! And then another nice way to use up these fruits are in bakes... as there would be less guilt for using much less of the bad-sugar and sneaking a good-fruit!
In this case, it is paired with another ingredient filled with nutrients - almonds. And the almonds, along with giving a nice nutty taste and texture, helps in reducing the amount of fat that goes in. It was a perfect recipe for my baking itch.
It can be baked as a cake, as in the original recipe, but i chose to bake them as muffins/cup cakes. I'd rather call these as muffins than cup cakes owing to the oil used, the mix-n-bake preparation and the final texture. They make a nice snack or breakfast item.
Date and Almonds Muffins
Preparation time : 15 min
Baking time : 5 min
Adapted from : Versatile Kitchen
Almonds - 1 cup (Remove the skin if you want a lighter color, I didn't)
Dates - pitted 15
All purpose flour - 3 cups
Salt - 1 tsp
Baking powder - 2 tsp
Baking Soda - 1 tsp
Cardamom powder - 1 1/2 tsp OR Vanilla - 1 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 1 1/2 cups (I reduced the sugar by a couple of tablespoons)
Vegetable or Canola Oil - 2/3 cup
- Soak almond and dates in warm water to cover them for about 4 hours.
- Grind into a smooth paste in a mixie/blender. Use enough water so that the resultant liquid/puree is 2 1/4 cups.
- Preheat the oven to 180 dec C or 350 F.
- Grease and line the muffin tray with paper liner cups and set aside. I used silicon cups.
- In a bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cardamom powder.
- In another bowl whisk together the date and almond puree with oil and vanilla if using.
- Dump the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine. Do not over mix.
- Pour into the prepared cups. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool on the wire rack in the pan for about 10 minutes before turning it on to the wire rack to cool completely.
- When completely cool, glaze or just sprinkle with powdered sugar. It tastes good as is, without the additional sugar or glaze.
- I halved the recipe and made 8 cup muffins.
- If baking in a cake pan, bake for 50-60min.
- I increased dates by 3-4 and reduced the sugar and it was just fine.