Sunday, 6 January 2013

Banana Muffins sweetened with Dates

The kids are heading back to school on Monday.  What a wonderful break they have had; skating on our backyard rink, visiting friends and family, sleeping in and playing board games.  Although I have not enjoyed all the time off with them, I have certainly enjoyed the break from packing lunches.

Although the kids could likely make their own lunches, I continue to help out with this task.  We try and keep some baking around to send along.  If Jos is in charge of the school lunch baking, I can guarantee it will include sugar and lots of it.  My goal is to try and eliminate as much sugar as possible with wholesome treats.

I subbed the sugar out of the banana muffins with date puree.  I wasn't sure if it would work but I'm thrilled to tell you it did.  The dates add even more moisture so it's a little tricky using it as a 1:1 replacement for sugar in your own recipes.  Here I have adapted an old favourite.  I first made the original banana muffin back in 1993.  I was working as a nanny for a family and the mother left the cookbook out with instructions to bake.  Twenty years later, I think it's time to update. 

Banana Muffins sweetened with Dates

adapted from Best Ever Banana Muffins (Muffin Mania)

3 large ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup date puree (see instructions below)
1 egg
1/3 cup coconut oil melted (or butter)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup spelt flour
2 Tbsp ground flax
1/4 cup walnut halves (optional)

To make date puree: combine 1 cup of dates, 1 cup of water and 1/2 tsp vanilla in a medium pot.  Bring to a boil and then cook on low heat for about 20min, until most of the water has evaporated.  Cool and then pulse in blender or food processor.  Reserve and measure out 3/4 cup for recipe.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl combine mashed banana, date puree and egg.  Add melted coconut oil and mix thoroughly.
In a small bowl combine dry ingredients and then add to wet.  Stir until just combined.  Scoop into muffin liners and top with walnut halves if using.  Bake 20 min and cool before eating.

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