And so we begin. This first recipe came through inspiration and recommendation from my mum. She’d dug up this fantastic recipe for making the most light and delightful muffins. Combining this with my sticky toffee desires, a new recipe was born. The addition of dates and muscovado sugar give it the caramel-toffee flavour and texture you’d expect of a sticky toffee pudding, and the unique quality of the recipe gives it its own natural sauce…
- 150g self-raising flour
- 100g golden caster sugar (you can use regular caster sugar if you like)
- 50g dark brown muscovado sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 5g baking powder
- 75ml sunflower oil
- 65ml buttermilk
- 1/2tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 100g coarsely chopped and pitted dates
- 100ml water
- muffin or tulip cases
- 12 holed muffin tin
- hand blender
- medium sized bowls
- small saucepan
- oven preheated to 170º celsius
You’ll want to prepare your dates first, as they should cool a little before you’re ready to throw them into the muffin mixture. Coarsely chop your stoned and pitted dates and add them to the water in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture until it begins to boil, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, take off the heat and continue to stir until the dates begin to break down and there’s no discernible water left in the pan. Because the muffin mixture is light and airy, you’ll need a hand blender (or equivalent) to purée the mixture, otherwise the dates will sink to the bottom when cooked. This can be done in the pan as typical hand blenders won’t expose the very sharp blades to the pan surface. In a circular motion, blend the mixture until it all looks consistent. You’ll notice a change in pitch once there’s nothing left to blend. Very delicately, and with the power off, shake off the date mixture still attached to the blender and leave in the pan to cool.
Sift your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) into a bowl to later incorporate to the wet ingredients. Whisk your eggs in a medium sized bowl until they are light and fluffy. Add in the caster and muscovado sugar and whisk until combined and smooth. Stir in the dry ingredients until consistent. Now add the oil and vanilla extract. It’ll initially make the mixture look like it has split, so beat gently at first with your spatula, then more thoroughly once you get going, until fully incorporated. Finally add in the buttermilk and whisk together until combined.
With your base muffin mixture prepared, add in the warm date mixture and blend together with a spatula. You’re now ready to add to the cases you’ll be using. If using muffin cases, you’ll be able to make 12, filling them halfway. With tulip cases, divide the mixture between 10. Bake in the oven for around 22 minutes, turning halfway, if you don’t have a fan-assisted oven.
Tulip cases may take a few minutes longer as they’ll have more mixture per case. Once they’re done, take them out of the oven and leave to rest for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. You’re now left with a very difficult decision. If you want, you can tuck into the muffins while they’re still slightly warm. They’ll be moist and flavoursome, but they won’t have much stickiness to them. If you can show restraint, you’re best off letting them cool completely and then place them in an airtight container overnight. By the morning you’ll have a set of glossy, sticky muffins that have generated their own glorious topping.
I’ve never managed to have any left over for more than a day, but if you do they should be good for up to 2 days. Due to the light mixture and oil content, they don’t keep too long before losing their character.
(update: the finished article)