Monday, March 3, 2014

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Oatmeal Date and Toasted Pecan Muffins / Can dates help reduce the need for interventions during labor?

These muffins are tasty, moist, fluffy AND not too sweet. They're also loaded with whole grains, nuts and good-for-you dried fruit there! 

Is it obvious that I am completely out-of-control with the carbs and sweets right now? Ack! At least it's not another cookie recipe!

I initially made these in an attempt to eat more dates. I heard about a study that found that eating dates (6-7/day during the last 4 weeks of pregnancy) can reduce the need for inductions/augmentations of labor. The study findings are preliminary at best, but since I highly doubted that dates could be harmful, I figured it was worth a try. 

I'm not sure if cooking the dates effects their benefits (I don't believe the study states whether dried of fresh dates are better either, so that's another question) but I don't really like dates on their own (just too sweet), so I hoped these muffins might count toward that 6-7 dates per day total. 

As to whether or not they helped, well, I had a super long "prodromal" labor (4 days...yikes!) but no interventions, augmentations or drugs were needed, so my answer Honestly, I didn't eat enough dates to make any judgements either way (I just don't like dates very much) but these are some dang good muffins so bake them up anyhow!

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Oatmeal Date and Toasted Pecan Muffins 
Slightly adapted from Wanna Come With who adapted it from Brown Eyed Baker
Yield: 2 dozen muffins 
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 cups cultured buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cups rolled oats
1 cup steel cut oats (Feel free to use rolled oats only. I ran out so I decided to use steel cut to supplement)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon iodized sea salt (table salt)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup pecans (or any nut), toasted and roughly chopped
1 cup dates, roughly chopped 

Preheat your oven to 400°F.  

Grease the tops of two muffin tins and line with muffin cups.

Toast 2 cups of chopped pecans for about 5-8 minutes until fragrant. Set aside to cool.

Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl and whisk well to combine. Add the oats and brown sugar and use your fingers to break up any sugar clumps and distribute the ingredients throughout. 

Finally, add in the roughly chopped toasted pecans and dates. Use you fingers again to toss the dates and pecans in the flour, breaking up any clumps that stick together.  

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, then add the cultured buttermilk, vanilla and melted but slightly cooled butter. Whisk to combine.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix!

Spoon the batter into your prepared muffin tins and bake for about 15 minutes until they just pass the toothpick test. 

Allow the muffins to set-up in their tins for a few minutes before transferring them to the rack to finish cooling. 

These are awesome warm and at room temperature. They're good for just about a week (freeze them otherwise). After a few days, they really benefit from a few seconds in the microwave or oven to revive them before serving. 

Note: Fill your cups fuller than this (right to the top) for a perfectly puffed muffin top.