Walnut Date Muffins with Orange Zest

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I just love the combination of dates, walnuts and orange. I use them in salads, side dishes, and even to add a little life to my mains like chicken or halibut. Because of this apparent affinity to these ingredients, I often have all three taking up space in my rather modestly sized fridge.

Another thing I often having lingering around and overflowing out of my cupboards and refrigerator drawers is a plethora of alternative fours. Usually when I want to do a big-old ingredient purge, especially when the flour arsenal is feeling a bit excessive, I combine everything into muffins. Muffins are pretty forgiving as far as baking is concerned, and they lend well to a variety of flavours. Sweet, savoury, or a combination of the two - there's no wonder why I have a growing showcase of muffins recipes on the blog.

Well, here's another, and you guessed it, it utilizes those much favourited flavours of date, walnut and orange, with some delightful spices that are so warming at this time of year. Plus the sweet only comes from pureed apple and freshly squeezed orange juice, which is always nice. As much as you know I'm a fan of using raw honey or pure maple syrup instead of refined sugar in my recipes, they still pack a glucose-y punch. For example, half a cup maple syrup supplies about 110 grams of effective carbohydrates (the amount that has an effect on blood sugar levels), and a whopping 140 grams of effective carbohydrates in half a cup of honey, but only about 15 grams of effective carbohydrates in half a cup of applesauce or half a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice. Something to think about, no? Plus, I find the applesauce flavour and texture provides a lovely dimension to these muff's, and well, we already covered my the reasoning for the orange-love in this particular creation.

So give it a go, and enjoy a sampling of your batch with a warming cup of tea on a rainy Saturday while reading a good book. In fact, that's exactly what I'm going to do right now...

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Walnut Date Muffins with Orange Zest (grain-free, dairy-free)

 

*Prep time: 15 minutes

*Bake time: 20-30 minutes

Makes 12 medium-sized muffins

 

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil (or melted grass-fed butter or ghee if you're not DF)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (start with a quarter, and if the batter is feeling a tad dry, add in the other quarter at the end)
  • 1 cup pureed apple
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour 
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp clove
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 loose cup pitted and chopped dates 
  • 1 loose cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tbsp orange zest 

 

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and line a muffin tray with 12 muffin cups.
  2. In a food processor, electric mixer, or by hand in a large bowl, thoroughly beat together the eggs, almond butter, coconut oil, vanilla, and orange juice.
  3. Once combined, pulse or stir in the pureed apple.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt.
  5. Slowly pulse or stir in the flour mix to the wet ingredients until thoroughly combined. *Note: The batter should be light and a bit fluffy. Not runny, but also not more solid like a cookie dough. See my above notes about the orange juice if you're noticing that it's too dry. 
  6. Fold, or gently pulse in the walnuts, dates, and orange zest until just mixed in. 
  7. Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin cups (it should come all the way to the top, or even a little higher), and bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, until the muffins are just starting to get slightly golden brown on top and are cooked all the way through (you can test with a skewer or thin knife).
  8. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 5 minutes, before transferring the muffins to a cooling rack.
  9. Enjoy slightly warm with butter, ghee, or on their own. Allow to cool fully before storing them in the fridge or freezer.