Perhaps this will get me back into semi-regular blogging. So to start out, here is a recipe for Date Nut Muffins (which I am a huge fan of). It's from About.com by Danilo Alfaro:
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
· 2 cups all-purpose flour, or 2¼ cups pastry flour, sifted
· ½ cup granulated sugar
· 1 Tbsp baking powder
· ½ tsp salt
· 1 cup whole milk
· 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
· ¼ cup chopped dates
· ¼ cup chopped walnuts
· 1 large egg (or 2 medium)
· 4 oz butter (½ stick) or shortening
1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
2. Combine the flour, dates, walnuts, baking powder and salt.
3. Unwrap the butter and heat it in the microwave, in a microwave-safe bowl, for about a minute, until it's thoroughly melted. Set it aside at room temperature to cool, but don't let it solidify again.
4. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and then add the sugar, milk and vanilla to the eggs.
5. Thoroughly grease and flour a muffin pan (or use paper muffin liners).
6. Pour a tiny bit of the melted butter into the egg-vanilla-milk mixture and stir it in. Repeat 3-4 more times, adding a slightly larger amount of the liquid butter each time until it is all incorporated.
IMPORTANT: Don't add hot melted butter to the egg mixture as the heat from the butter would cook the egg, and that's not what you want to do!
7. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ones and mix no more than ten seconds. The batter should be visibly lumpy, and you may see pockets of dry flour. That's OK! It's extremely important not to overmix the batter, or the resulting muffins will be too hard.
8. Gently pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan and bake immediately.
TIP: The dry and wet ingredients, respectively, can be mixed in advance, but as soon as the wet and dry ingredients have been combined with each other, the liquid will activate the baking powder and the batter must be baked right away.
9. Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.