Date Chai Muffins
Date and Chai Muffins#BreadBakers
Theme: Natural Sweeteners
Recipe: Date Chai Muffins
Date Chai Muffins are soft, delicious, fruity muffins without any refined sugar or artificial sweeteners. Instead, I’ve used dates, figs, raisins and apricots to add the required sweetness to these wholewheat muffins. Healthy and nutritious, Date Chai Muffins make a good breakfast or tea time treat for both kids and adults. To add some flavour I add my home made Tea Spice Mixture or Chai Masala. Ideal for diabetics in moderation as the sweetness is natural.
What are Natural Sweeteners?
Actually, it is amazing how many natural sweeteners are available. As a matter of fact, honey and maple syrup are the fore runners. Then add sweet fruits, dried without added sugar like dates, raisins, sultanas, prunes, apricots, figs, strawberries, raspberries, goji, cherries etc. Also, fresh fruits like mangoes, bananas, sweet apples are widely used to add sweetness to bakes. Pumpkins, sweet potato are widely used to add natural sweetness too. In India, palm sugar and jaggery as natural sweeteners which are widely used. Coconut sugar made from the sap of the coconut palm tree is gaining popularity worldwide.
You may say that sugar is natural, made from sugar cane juice. In fact, sugar as we know it, be it brown, white, Demerara, turbinado, muscovado all go through lot of processing and centrifuging.
My Turn To Suggest The Theme
After being a member of this awesome group Breadbakers for a while, I finally took the plunge to ‘host’ the event. For a long time I wanted to host but what put me off was the too technical sounding google documents and htmls and all those alien technological terms. And after checking out the past themes, I came up with natural sweeteners. I challenged the participants not use use any processed or centrifuged sugars or high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. This included brown, demerara, turbinado, muscovado, etc as they all go through some stage of centrifuging and processing.
Check Out How Other Bread Bakers Have Used Natural Sweeteners:
- Blackberries and Honey Bread by Kidsandchic
- Cheddar Honey Flowers by Ambrosia
- Mayuri’s Jikoni – Date and Chai Muffins
- Date Sweetened Banana Bread by Herbivore Cucina
- Sizzling Tastebuds Eggless Banana Chocochip Bread with Cranberries and Coconut Sugar
- Gayathri’s Cook Spot – Eggless Carrot Coconut Quick Bread
- Eggless Wholewheat Maple Banana Oat Muffins by Spill the Spices
- Einkorn Drop Biscuits with Peaches and Blueberries by The Wimpy Vegetarian
- English Granary-Style No Knead Bread by Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Grape Bread by The Bread She Bakes
- Healthy Banana & Blueberry Bread by Baking in Pyjamas
- By Baking Yummies – Honey Almond Banana Muffins
- Food Lust People Love –Honey Cider Quick Loaf
- Magnolia Days – Honey Cornbread
- Hostess At Heart –Honey Oat Pain de Mie
- Honey Pineapple Pull-Apart Rolls by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- The Schizo Chef – Jackfruit Honey Bread
- Jackfruit Semolina Muffins with Jaggery by My Cooking Journey
- Mangalore Buns by Sneha’s Recipe
- Maple Bacon Cheddar & Pickle Pull-Apart Bread by A Shaggy Dough Story
- Cook’s Hideout- Maple Pecan Scones
- A Baker’s House – Maple Oatmeal Bread
- Pain au Levian avec Banane by What Smells So Good?
- Tangerine Honey White Bread by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Learning Tech Stuff
When I asked my son if he knew how to create documents and the html stuff, he naturally replied ‘of course’. So, here I was at peace knowing that come July, I will have my son’s help on this front. I’ve learnt something new and feel great. Thanks to my son Neel for his guidance and to fellow member Renee Dobbs(Magnolia Days) for assisting me.
My Choice Of Natural Sweetener
I wanted to use jaggery but while packing for the trip, I forgot jaggery! On unpacking at my son’s home in Montreal, realized that I had forgotten jaggery! Luckily during over stop over at Doha I had bought some delicious soft dates. So back to the drawing board to replace jaggery with dates. I wanted to bake a bread using dates but due to popular demand landed up with muffins.
Natural Sweetener Recipes:
- Carrot Bliss Balls
- Beetroot Blueberry Pops
- Date Paneer Cheesecake
- Rice Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Jaggery Banana Bread
- Beetroot Energy Balls
- Almond, Coconut and Cacao Nib Bites
Date Chai Muffins
This will be my 10th bake for Bread Bakers group and till date except for the buckwheat pancakes I’ve baked with yeast. Due to the request by family for this theme muffins it was. Yes the charming thing about this group is that one can opt to bake any bread, make pancakes or bake muffins or cupcakes according to the theme.
These Date Chai Muffins, taste like a Christmas cake, fruity and spicy. Hubby was really happy that he could enjoy muffins that had no sugar added. He is diabetic, but that did not mean he could gorge on them. Dried fruits without added sugar have low to moderate Glycemic Index and are a rich source of fiber, valuable nutrients and anti oxidants.
Ingredients Required For Date Chai Muffins:
- Pitted Dates – use the soft variety.
- Raisins – any of your choice.
- Dried Apricots, Figs or Prunes – I have used apricots and figs
- Tap/ Bottled Water – required to make the dried fruits into a paste.
- Butter/ Oil – I have used vegetable oil. If you use butter, melt it.
- Salt – a little required to bring out the sweetness.
- Eggs – make sure they are at room temperature and medium.
- Wheat Flour – I have used atta or roti flour. Use wheat pastry flour. You amuse all purpose flour if you want to.
- Soda Bicarbonate – baking soda. As the leavening agent.
- Baking Powder – as the leavening agent
- Chopped Nuts – of your choice. I have used walnuts. Can use pecans, hazelnuts, cashew nuts, etc.
- Fresh Orange Juice – or can replace it with brewed black tea.
- Vanilla Extract – for flavoring or replace it with grated orange zest.
- Chai Tea Spice Mixture/Chai Masala – I have used my home made one. Feel free to buy ready made or flow my recipe and make some at home. Just click here.Can omit if making the muffins for kids as they may not enjoy the spiciness.
Sugar Free Date Chai Muffins
For The Paste
- 1 cup lightly packed pitted dates
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup dried prunes,apricots or figs
- 1 cup water
For the Muffins
- ¼ cup oil
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 medium eggs
- 1 cup wheat flour atta
- 1 tsp soda bicarbonate baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ cup chopped nuts of your choice
- ½ cup fresh orange juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or orange zest
- 1 tsp Chai Tea Spice Mixture/ Chai Masala
Preparation Of The Paste:
- Put pitted dates, raisins, prunes(or any other dried fruit you use) and water in a saucepan.
- Heat it over medium low heat till the mixture becomes a thick paste. Total cooking time was about 5 minutes.
- Let the mixture cool down completely. Transfer the mixture to a big bowl.
Preparation Of The Date Chai Muffins:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Line a muffin tray with cake cups or grease it lightly with butter.
- Sift the flour, chai masala, salt, baking powder and soda bicarbonate together. Mix well.
- Add the eggs to the cooled down date paste. Whisk well.
- Add oil, vanilla extract and orange juice to the date mixture and mix well.
- Add the flour mixture and mix just enough to get the flour wet. Don't over mix.
- Add the chopped nuts and mix them into the batter gently.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tray.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes till the tops are light golden brown. Insert a skewer or toothpick into the middle of one of the muffins. If it comes out clean, the muffins are done.
- Remove the muffins from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack.
- Serve with some spicy tea, coffee or with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
- I make my own tea or chai masala (powder). Ready made chai masala is available in most stores or Indian stores.
- I chopped the apricots and figs into big pieces after measuring them.
- Use sultanas, currants, dried blueberries instead of raisins.
- Make sure your fruits do not have added sugar to make these muffins totally without processed sugar. Most dried cranberries available in the stores have added sugar.
- I used dates that did not have any sugar syrup. They should be dry and not wet when you touch them.
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