Sep 25, 2017

Sourdough Date Nut Cranberry Muffins | #MuffinMonday

These Sourdough Date Nut Cranberry Muffins combine the tang of sourdough with the sweetness of dates. Then there are the tart cranberries adding an additional flavor dimension. So good.

These Sourdough Date Nut Cranberry Muffins combine the tang of sourdough with the sweetness of dates. Then there are the tart cranberries adding an additional flavor dimension. So good.

I keep a sourdough starter in my refrigerator, which I feed regularly to keep it alive and ready to leaven bread. I've had this starter for at least seven years. That means there have been a lot of "feedings."

If you maintain a sourdough starter, you know that every time you feed it, you need to discard a portion of it so that you don't end up letting your starter take over the house, or even your town. This recipe for Sourdough Date Nut Cranberry Muffins is perfect for using the starter that you'd normally toss out.

These Sourdough Date Nut Cranberry Muffins combine the tang of sourdough with the sweetness of dates. Then there are the tart cranberries adding an additional flavor dimension. So good.

Another advantage to adding sourdough starter to your quick breads is that it helps keep them fresh longer. I don't know why... something about the acidic nature of the starter and moisture retention. If you want to get your bread geek on, check out page 49 of Jeffrey Hamelman's amazing book, Bread. You will learn all about stuff like "starch retrogradation," which means "staling."

Regardless, these muffins are really good. They are sweet, but not overly so, and so moist from the dates.

I'm sure you're wondering why I had access to cranberries in early September. It's because I buy several bags of them every Thanksgiving and stick them in the freezer for times like these. They freeze amazingly well, and seem impervious to freezer burn. You never know when you'll have a cranberry emergency.

These Sourdough Date Nut Cranberry Muffins combine the tang of sourdough with the sweetness of dates. Then there are the tart cranberries adding an additional flavor dimension. So good.

Note: If you don't have a sourdough starter, you can make a poolish by mixing 4 ounces of flour and 4 ounces of water and a pinch of yeast. Mix the flour, water, and yeast in a bowl, cover it, and let it sit overnight. When you are ready to make the muffins, add all of the poolish to the dough instead of the starter.

These muffins get their gorgeous golden brown color from a mixture of boiled dates, sugar, and butter. I was kind of blown away with the technique, and was a little worried when the baking soda in these muffins bubbled up the entire batter due to the warmth. No worries. the muffins still rose beautifully and had a wonderful airy texture.

After the recipe, be sure to check out the rest of the delicious muffins from the Muffin Monday baking group.

Sourdough Date Nut Cranberry Muffins

Sourdough Date Nut Cranberry Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) water
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 1/2 ounces) chopped pitted dates
  • 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (2 5/8 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) chopped walnuts
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unfed sourdough starter (see note above for a substitute)
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 1/4 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, dates, sugar, butter, and vanilla. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring regularly, until it comes to a boil. Remove from the heat. Add the cranberries, and stir until the mixture cools to a temperature of about 100 degrees F.
  3. Add the walnuts, eggs, and sourdough starter, and stir.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt, and then add it to the pan. Mix until the flour is just incorporated.
  5. Portion the batter among the muffin cavities. The batter should come just below the top of each muffin liner.
  6. Bake the muffins for 17 to 19 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Gently remove the muffins from the pan and cool on a wire rack.
Yield: 12 muffins

Recipe adapted from Sift Magazine, Fall 2017 This issue has several quick bread recipes for using sourdough starter. 
Muffin Monday

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These Sourdough Date Nut Cranberry Muffins combine the tang of sourdough with the sweetness of dates. Then there are the tart cranberries adding an additional flavor dimension. So good.

22 comments:

  1. I haven't yet decided if a sourdough starter is worth the time and bother but you certainly offer great recipes that make me think I am missing out on something.

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    Replies
    1. It's kind of an obsession for me =) If you want to make these muffins though you can use a poolish!

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  2. a cranberry emergency- yes! i totally relate to that. i always freeze some around the holidays too. :) these muffins sound wonderful.

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  3. What gorgeous muffins, Karen! I do exactly the same with a bag or three of cranberries. They really do freeze beautifully. I made a sourdough starter a while back, in anticipation of our Bread Bakers event next month but I fear I have sorely neglected it due to all the traveling in August and September. I may have to start over when I get home. But I've learned something today with your muffin recipe and I will definitely use your tip for my discard now. Who doesn't want a muffin that stays fresh longer, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can try reviving it. If it doesn't smell bad (it should have an alcohol smell, which is fine), you can revive it. If you have a tablespoon of rye, add that. I've gone several weeks on occasion and it always comes back!

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  4. I love all your "emergency" bits... did you know I spilled my bag of frozen cranberries inside the freezer last week? I am grateful no cameras are around my kitchen. It would go viral... the colorful language... how far those things pop (the ones that escaped the freezer)...

    fun times... fun times...

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    Replies
    1. Oh no!! Yes, they're like marbles when they are frozen!

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  5. I can always count on you for above and beyond sourdough recipes Karen. These look so darn tender and delicious.

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  6. DEAR KAREN THANK YOU FOR THE DELICIOUS FOOD
    REGARDS
    SILVIO

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  7. I absolutely love that you've found a use for the "throwaway" starter. It kills me, just dumping it every week. Will definitely be using this as a base recipe for whatever fruit I have that's about to go, so I can make this a No Food Waste two-fer.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Jordan! I try so hard to not throw too much of it out if I can work it.

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  8. Love that you used the sourdough! Sooo yummy :D

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  9. I've never thought of the idea of sourdough muffins! These sound amazing!

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  10. Thanks for providing a way to make these without the starter (because yes I failed on the one you gave me)! “You never know when you’ll have a cranberry emergency” too true! I buy a couple of extra bags at Thanksgiving, too. I love them in smoothies!

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you noticed! P.S. I will happily deliver starter to you any time you need (or is that knead) it. xoxo

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  11. My first thought was, "Wow! That's a gorgeous colour on those muffins!"

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