Nothing like a new cake experiment to give me back some motivation to write on this blog! Can you believe it has been almost 4 years, and although is still cook and bake as much as ever, sometimes I find it hard to take the time to write and document everything. I am not great at taking pictures either, so I find it even harder to keep going in the winter, when the light is so scarce. I often end up making a recipe, but then the pictures are so bland and unappetizing that it never makes it to the blog. Does that happen to you sometimes? Like many of my experiments, this one happened because I was too lazy to go and buy missing ingredients at the store 15 mn walk from my place. I wanted to make a cake, I was looking for some nice fillings and toppings, but I had none of my usual ones in the cupboard: no chocolate chips, no raisins, no jam, no slithered almonds, no dessicated coconut, no lemon juice.. zero.
After rummaging through all my drawers and opening all my cupboards, I was finally inspired by a handful sticky medjool dates and some crunchy chopped walnuts. And these muffins were delicious! Just a simple pound cake recipe with a je-ne-sais-quoi of sticky toffee pudding form the dates and brown sugar, and some added crunch from the toasted walnuts.
What do you need? 180 g soft butter – 180 g dark brown sugar – 3 eggs – 180 g self-raising flour – a big handful pitted medjool dates, chopped – 80 g chopped walnuts – 30 g ground almonds.
How to make them?
- Set the oven to grill position. Spread the walnuts evenly on a baking sheet and let them grill for 5 mn, or until you can smell they are ready.
- Beat the butter and sugar using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and adding a tablespoon of flour with the final egg to avoid curdling.
- Fold in the remaining flour until well combined. Add the chopped dates, walnuts and ground almonds and mix well. If the dough is too thick, add a tablespoon or two of milk.
- Spoon the mixture evenly into silicon muffin tins and bake for 15 mn or until a skwere inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins before turning out onto a plate to cool completely.
Tip : Medjool dates are really the best for this recipe because they are so plump and moist. But if you use other types of dates that are quite dry, try soaking them in a little hot water for a few minutes until they soften. Then just pat them dry before chopping and baking.