May 15, 2008

NO Added Fat! NO Added Sugar!

A Great Date Muffin Recipe

This moist, flavorful bread will quickly become a favorite, especially with all the possible add-ins. While originally written as a muffin recipe, I often bake it as a bread, using a 9x9" pan. Of course you can use a loaf pan, but for some weird reason, I have trouble baking dense breads in a loaf pan... they never cook through in the middle.

For the dates in this recipe, don't use the pre-cut ones as they often have added sugar, and I think they have far less flavor than the fresh Medjool dates. Sometimes the fresh dates are pre-packed in 8 oz. containers, sometimes, they're just loose in their packing box in the produce department, and you just pick out what you want.

Date Muffins

8 oz. dates, cut in small pieces
1 c raisins
1 1/2 c boiling water
2 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 slightly beaten egg whites (see note below)
1 tsp vanilla

Mix date pieces and raisins, pour boiling water over and let set until cool Add other ingredients, mixing well, pour into greased muffin tin, bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, a time which can really vary so test for doneness. OR, use a greased 9x9" pan and bake 30-35 minutes, which again can vary.

NOW, because I'm using eggs from our Girls, and these eggs tend to be extra large, you may want to use three egg whites if you're using store-boughten eggs.

Add-in possibilities -

Add the grated peel of one orange ... this is THE best!

Use craisins instead of raisins, but note the added sugar in the craisins.

Add nuts, especially chopped or sliced almonds. If you do use almonds, substitute almond extract for the vanilla.

A half cup of chocolate chips is delicious, and I bet white chocolate chips would be really, really good.

Experiment with various dried fruits, but be aware of the added sugars... I think I'll try some mango next!

Enjoy these muffins (for bread) with a cream cheese topping made much healthier with yoghurt.

Cream Cheese/Yogurt Spread for Bread

I really prefer this to the reduced-fat cream cheese you can buy at the store as this has half the fat of regular cream cheese, good added protein, and great flavor. Put a coffee filter in a colander and add a generous cup of non-fat plain yogurt. Let set at room temperature for an hour or so to drain, then beat into one 8 oz pkg of cream cheese. Great on any bread OR try mixing with a firm raspberry jam to use between layers of spice cake.