Nutty Date Muffins

Makes 18
(No gluten, dairy or cane sugar; with options for peanuts/legumes)

Incorporating both salty and sweet notes, these tender morsels can progress from dreamy-eyed intention to serving platter in just 40 minutes. Serve in advantageous pairings with soup or salad for an enthusiastic reception at dinner; or for brunch with eggs, tofu Scramble (see Recipes), stuffed mushrooms, or fruit salad. Any left-over muffins can be enjoyed for lunch the next day.

Nuts and seeds are top providers of many minerals especially magnesium, calcium and zinc. Peanuts, pumpkin kernels and sesame seeds are particularly good sources of zinc. This mineral is critical for skin, hormonal and immune system health (see TIPS for…Think Zinc). As an antioxidant zinc is especially important for people with the DRIVER or SENSUALIST metabolic body-type (see HEALTH STORE for The Shape Diet). Many people take vitamins but vitamins can not work without minerals.

Cooking nuts can enhance their digestibility. Studies have shown that people who eat nuts regularly have a lower weight and less risk of cardiovascular disease than non-nut eaters. Nuts are also a good source of protective fats (see TIPS for The Fats of Life), protein, and contain both soluble and insoluble fibre.

4 Tbsp pumpkin kernels
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp cold-pressed oil*
½ tsp seasoned salt*
½ cup peanut butter or almond butter*
60 ml (¼ cup) cold-pressed oil such as peanut or extra virgin olive
¼ cup honey
2 large free range eggs
375 ml (1½ cups) Milk Option*
1¾ cups rice flour*
2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt*
1 cup washed dates, finely chopped

Grease standard muffin tins or line with paper cases. Combine the kernels, seeds, oil and salt and set aside.

In a food processor combine the oil, nut butter and honey until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time until well combined. Add the Milk Option and process until smooth.

Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and briefly combine. Stir in the dates so as not to over-process.

Pour the batter into the pans until almost full. Sprinkle each muffin with about 1 teaspoon seed mixture. Bake at 180°C Fan Bake or 200°C Bake for 18-20 minutes just until firm (a toothpick inserted in the centre should come out dry).

Shopping and PreparationTips*:

• Milk Options: include soy milk; oat milk (may have traces of gluten); 3 parts rice milk with 1 part oil or coconut cream; or organic cow’s or goat’s milk.

• Nut Butter: almond butter is in most supermarkets next to peanut butter. Read labels and choose peanut butter without added sugar or artificial additives; eg Ceres’ brand.

• Oil: mild, cold pressed oil suitable for baking and cooking is Ceres brand Organic Roasting and Frying Oil (from health stores). It is also second to extra virgin olive oil for affordability. Or use peanut, almond or untoasted sesame oil. For information on which fats to choose for which purpose and why, see my article on the TIPS page: The Fats of Life.

• Rice flour: for baking use finely ground (can be called ‘zentrofan’) whole rice. Results will not be the same with coarse, gritty flour; or Asian rice flour (from starch only; looks sticky like cornflour*). Use brown rice flour (finely milled; not gritty). Or mix ½ brown rice flour (for increased nutrients); ½ white rice flour (for increased lightness) as preferred. For sauces 2-3 Tbsp thickens 1 cup liquid.

• Salt: seasoned salts can be homemade or commercial mixtures of sea salt, herbs, spices, or other flavour contributors such as seaweed. Try Malcolm Harker’s Sea Salt with Kelp; or the many Pacific Harvest products.

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