Lemon zest and cardamom give these Blueberry Muffins their amazing flavor and aroma. Oat and millet flours produce a muffin that is hearty and filling, and dates and applesauce lend sweetness and moistness without the use of sugar and oil.
12 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped (about 1-1/2 cups or 8 ounces)
1 cup non-dairy milk
1-½ cups old fashioned rolled oats
¾ cup millet
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ cup applesauce
1 teaspoon lemon zest, packed
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (if frozen, do not thaw first)
½ cup roughly chopped walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl, cover the chopped dates with the non-dairy milk and set aside (so the dates may soften).
2. Grind oats and millet into a flour in your blender (a high-speed blender will do a finer job) and place into a mixing bowl. Add the baking powder and cardamom to this and stir with a fork.
3. Place the dates and non-dairy milk into a blender and blend until smooth. Add this date mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients along with the applesauce and lemon zest, and mix with a spoon until all the dry ingredients have disappeared.
4. Gently fold in the blueberries and chopped walnuts. Spoon the batter into a silicone muffin pan (see photo below) or parchment muffin papers in a metal pan, filling each muffin cup about 3/4 full. (Since the batter has no oil, I have found that regular cupcake papers tend to stick to the muffins).
5. Bake for 30 minutes. The muffins will be done when the tops have begun to brown and cracks appear, and when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for at least 15 to 20 minutes before removing.
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes
Makes: 1 dozen muffins
Berry appeal: The blueberries tend to sink down into the batter during cooking, so I like to push a few blueberries into the top of each cup just before baking (make sure they’re pushed in though, or they will roll off during rising).
Cardamom: If you’ve never used cardamom, I urge you to seek some out; it’s a wonderfully aromatic spice that is used quite a bit in Indian cooking. You can buy it pre-ground or in seed form (the seeds are black). I like to buy the seeds and ground them myself since this results a bigger flavor and aroma. Cardamom can be found wherever spices are sold.
Millet: I do not use any glutinous grains in my recipes, so usually opt for oats and, to a lesser degree, millet when baking. Millet helps balance any gumminess that often results from just using oats alone. Millet also gives baked goods a more cakey and slightly crunchy texture (even when finely ground), which I love. So, as with cardamom above, if you’ve not used millet, give it a try, you will like it.
Above: These muffins are hearty, and ideal to take with you when you want a quick bite that will fill your belly for a while, such as when traveling or hiking.
Above: Silicone bakeware is made from food-grade silicone plastic to withstand the heat of the oven and does not harm food. A silicone muffin pan is especially convenient since oil should be avoided (to grease the muffin cups). To remove the muffins, simply press up from the bottom of the pan to pop each muffin out. They also make single-serve silicone muffin cups (right), as well as silicone muffin papers.
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