Date, Pecan & Berry Muffins


RECIPE: Continuing the project to not discard sourdough discard, I tried this recipe for muffins. I substituted pecans for walnuts because I don’t like walnuts, and it’s pretty much impossible to find fresh or frozen cranberries in Australia, so I used frozen raspberries and blueberries. They were good substitutes – mix and match as you prefer. My sourdough starter is now 2.5 weeks old, so is definitely developing the ‘sour’ flavour.

PREPARATION: I’m not going to spend a lot of time here; this isn’t a difficult recipe. Get the ingredients in the saucepan over the heat and bring it to the boil, then take it off the heat and mix in the rest of the ingredients and voila you’re almost there. I roughly chopped the dates or nuts because I like to get the chunks when I bite into the muffin. My sourdough starter discard had been in the fridge for a couple of days unfed.

IMPRESSION: These muffins are moist and delicious. I don’t know if it’s the sourdough discard, but they’re not as sweet as date muffins can sometimes be. I loved having a burst of juice from the whole berries, and pecans and raspberries/blueberries worked perfectly. I’m sure they’d be just as good with walnuts. These muffins are quick and easy and worth trying, especially if you’re trying to use up your sourdough discard.

Recipe from King Arthur Flour
(US Cup measures)

1/2 cup (113g) water
1 1/2 cups (259g) chopped dates
3/4 cup (149g) sugar
1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (74g) fresh or frozen cranberries (or other tart berries)
1/2 cup (57g) chopped walnuts (or pecans)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
1 cup (227g) sourdough starter, unfed/discard
1 1/4 cups (149g) all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 200C (400°F). Grease the wells of a 12-cup muffin pan, or line with papers and grease the insides of the papers. In a large saucepan, combine the water, dates, sugar, butter, and vanilla. Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the cranberries, nuts, baking soda, salt, and eggs; mix thoroughly. Stir in the starter and the flour until evenly combined. Scoop the batter by the quarter-cupful into the prepared pan. Bake the muffins for 17 to 19 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the centre of one comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the oven and cool them in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely. Store any leftover muffins, tightly wrapped in plastic, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

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