Diwali is upon us. It is time for the ladoos and nankhatais to make their annual grand entrance, sending us all into a sugar-induced stupor that only ends a week later. I’ve dusted off my Diwali lights, dug out diyas stored in mysterious places every year, and decided that the dry fruits in my fridge, which I will never end up eating as is, deserve to be used in Diwali sweets that do not necessarily have you bouncing off the walls with a sugar-rush.
I’m a huge advocate of binging during the festive season, but these muffins were such a deliciously welcome break from the usual suspects, I decided it must make an appearance on your Diwali table this year.
Dates and almonds come together with honey to give you a batch of toffee-caramel flavoured, refined sugar-free muffins that I promise will sit great next to that plate of barfee and will probably be gone just as fast 🙂
The recipe is from Rachel Allen’s Cake, the same book that produced this buttery awesomeness. This time around, reducing the butter was top priority and it turned out to be just the right decision. The muffins were tender and moist with an inexplicable caramel-y flavour from the jammy dates and lots of honey. Whole wheat flour only adds to the guilt-reduction factor so I really don’t see why you wouldn’t make this.
Unless you don’t like dates? Or almonds? I’m with you. But these muffins taste like neither of those. Everything blends together to produce one wonderfully flavoured, not overly sweet dessert. Bake these as muffins or a whole cake. Either way, you have a very happy Diwali guaranteed.
What you’ll need:
100 gms dates, deseeded and chopped into small pieces
50 mls water
150 gms butter, softened to room temperature
200 gms honey
100 gms whole almonds, finely ground
125 gms wholewheat flour
1 and 1/2 tsps baking powder
What to do:
1. Sift the flour and baking powder. Set aside. Grease 12 muffin moulds or a 9″ round cake tin.
2. On medium heat in a small saucepan, cook the dates with the water for about 2 minutes till they are soft and almost jammy. Stir frequently to make sure they don’t burn or stick to the pan. Set aside to cool.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and honey till smooth. Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl and add to the butter-honey mixture, beating as you go.
4. Add the dates with the remaining cooking liquid (if any), then mix in the ground almonds. If the batter appears curdled, don’t worry.
5. Add the flour and baking powder and fold gently till combined.
6. Spoon into the prepared muffin moulds and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden-brown and a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean. If you’re baking this as a cake, check for doneness after 30 minutes and bake further if needed.
Eat warm! And stay tuned for more Diwali recipes this week 🙂
Notes: you could use about 1/2 cup milk instead of the eggs, however the texture will be a little different.