The other day I discovered another great ingredient. I’ve never been the biggest fan of peanut butter. I can’t help it, I just find it a little bit too flat tasting. And, yes, I do know I’m swimming against the tide here. But the good news for people like me is that there are now so many other great tasting nut butters out there that you can use instead. Macadamia, cashew and almond are all regulars in my kitchen but a few weeks ago I discovered a new gem which I hadn’t seen anywhere before and that was raw walnut butter.
Walnuts are full of protein and omega 3 fats (necessary or cell growth, immune function and preventing disease, but we can’t make them on our own) and are one of the healthiest types of nuts around. And it only takes a small handful to access some of those great health benefits. They are rich in anti-oxidants so should help reduce the risk of some cancers, help to lower bad cholesterol levels so helping reduce the risk of heart disease, help brain function through their high omega 3 levels, improve sperm quality in men and help us to manage a healthy weight. All good reasons to make sure we’re all snacking on walnuts, or at least enjoying some walnut butter, even if it does come to you in the shape of a muffin.
Try these muffins out for a post work-out snack, or a lunch box filler (if your school isn’t nut free) or as a super convenient grab and go breakfast. They are light and fluffy but filling enough to make sure you won’t be reaching for some less worthy snacks. You can chuck them in the freezer and they’ll be ready for you whenever you need to pull one out for some (almost) spontaneous snacking. As if there is any other sort. I haven’t added any sugar to the recipe; the dates (themselves a great source of fibre, minerals and protein) provide much of the sweetness and who needs sugar when they can have a heavenly honey and date combination? To be honest, if you need anymore, you should probably be retraining your sweet tooth anyway. As I’ve said before, it really doesn’t take long and the hit that your children will get from dried fruit will be so much easier to handle than any sugar, or worse chemical sweetener highs. Take it from me, I’ve got four and believe me, I speak from experience.
Walnut Butter and Date Muffins Recipe
100g pitted dates
100g raw, organic walnut butter
90g coconut oil (or if you prefer a lower saturated fat content you could use rapeseed oil)
200g plain flour
100g white teff flour (If you can’t get hold of teff, go ahead and use wholemeal flour)
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsps ground cinnamon
Start by soaking your dates in boiling water and leaving to one side. Then preheat your oven to 180 deg C and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
After around 20 mins, strain the dates but reserve the liquid. Blitz the dates in a food processor with the walnut butter, using about 2 tbsps of the reserved liquid to make sure you get a nice smooth paste.
Add the eggs and honey to the food processor bowl and blitz again.
Make your topping now by whisking together the cream cheese, honey and the ground cinnamon. Leave to one side.
Roughly mix together your dry ingredients then stir through the date and walnut butter mixture.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and make a small well in the centre of each muffin for the cream cheese topping.
Dollop teaspoonfuls of the honey cream cheese mixture in each well then transfer the tray to the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes until springy to the touch and well risen.
Try to leave to cool then devour as you see fit. Enjoy!