I am the kind of person who has a constant need to munch on something, and my sweet tooth is, well, insatiable. This completely contradicts with my need to be healthy. In a typical utopian world, I would have planned out all my meals and be feeling completely smug about it too. Reality, however, is far off from it. I do desperately want to live in this world, but striking that balance is quite a struggle on an everyday basis.
To motivate myself I was browsing through cookbooks on Amazon, looking specifically for healthy books with recipes that would, besides delivering on the health premise, also appeal to my bratty taste buds. My search yielded me a whole lot of gluten free cooking. Now I am not gluten intolerant, neither am I going to hit you in the head with it, but it is hard to ignore all the information out there. Given I do not have an opinion on this subject, I browsed through a couple of books (Yes I sometimes test out recipes before buying the book) and chose one that had least obscure ingredients and did not make me go out of the way to acquire a new healthy habit. Despite my bull headedness, the Maple Dates Pecan muffin recipe called for mostly everyday pantry items. The only minor kink was the almond meal. I am honestly quite wary of recipes that promise to be healthy and taste delicious all the same. It just seems like a lofty claim to make and more often than not, results are quite flawed. The thought of having a muffin with almond meal and some of my other favourite ingredients thrown in, however, tickled my taste buds and the slightly modified recipe did not disappoint me in the least bit.
This recipe is a keeper, you can make them ahead of the weekend and if they last – grab one for breakfast, or fuel up before you work out, or treat yourself to a pick-me-up afternoon snack when you’ve hit a plateau staring at a dull computer screen. You could bake a batch for brunch on mother’s day or take it with you as a little present for your dinner party hosts; they make for a wholesome treat in the morning. I have made this twice since I found the recipe and have been gorging on it guilt free.
Makes 12 muffins
Barely adapted from The gluten free Almond flour cookbook Elana Amsterdam
- 3 cups blanched almond flour/ almond meal
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup vegetable oil or grape seed oil
- 2 tablespoons pure organic maple syrup
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 medium apples peeled, cored and diced (I used 1 plum and 1 apple)
- 1 cup pecan coarsely chopped
- ½ cup dates shopped into ¼ inch piece
- 3 tablespoons rolled oats
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil/ melted butter
Preheat the oven to 350OF and line a muffin tray with 12 paper liners
In a larger bowl combine the almond flour/meal, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon. In a blender combine the wet ingredients – oil, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla extract, and apples till it is smooth and frothy (I used an immersion blender for this).
Stir in the wet ingredients into the dry almond meal mixture until thoroughly combined. Then fold in pecans and dates. Spoon the batter in prepared muffin cups.
In a small bowl combine the ingredients for the crumble – oats, oil and sugar (You can completely do away with the crumbs and the muffins taste just as good).
Evenly distribute the crumble on all the muffins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until muffin tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean.
Let the muffins cool in the pan before serving.