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With Diwali just round the corner, I was hard pressed to do a post on an Indian mithai/ sweet and I could not think of a single one I had not yet blogged about over the past many years. Besides the poor diabetes control rightly linked to the aftermath of this national festival of light [and sweets] convinced me to go for something healthier than the traditional burfi, gulab jamun or gato patate. Here’s a big thumbs-up for the dry fruit laddoo, which restored my faith in the unique taste of this humble Indian sweet.

Dates are the most important component in this no-cook recipe by FoodVedam as no extra sugar or sweetener is added. Try to use good quality dates of Medjool variety, if possible, as they are large and soft and therefore easier to process into a paste. The shelling, roasting and chopping of the nuts should be done ahead as it is the most time-consuming step. Once you have the nut mixture ready, the assembly hardly takes 15 minutes and you have a deliciously different laddoo to add to your sweet box and share with your loved ones on the blessed occasion of Diwali, Festival of Lights.

DRY FRUIT LADDOO

Ingredients:

200g dried dates

50g dried figs

30g almonds

30g cashew nuts

30g pistachios

15g golden raisins

15g black raisins

1/4 piece nutmeg

1 teaspoon sesame

3 green cardamoms

1 tablespoon ghee

Method:

  • Remove seeds from the dates and chop them coarsely. Chop dried figs and keep them aside separately.

  • Coarsely chop almonds, cashew nuts, pistachios. Grind cardamom seeds and nutmeg to a fine powder.

  • Put chopped dates and dried figs in a mixer grinder and make into a coarse paste. Melt ghee in a pan.

  • Add cashew nuts, almonds, pistachios, raisins and roast for 2 to 3 minutes. Add dates and figs mixture.

  • Stir in nutmeg powder, sesame seeds and mix well. Turn off flame and let it cool down for few minutes.

  • Divide mixture into equal parts. Apply a little ghee to palms each time to bind laddoos. For 12 pieces.

Happy Diwali 2018!

These egg-free muffins will totally fool anyone who strongly believes in the myth ‘eggless cakes can only be dense and chewy, never achieving the sponginess resulting from incorporating beaten eggs into the batter’. I am almost ecstatic to share with you the results of this detectable recipe from Erivum Puliyum, a beautiful blog maintained by Julie who writes about traditional dishes from her homeland, Kerala. The puréed dates and muscovado sugar gives these muffins a faint, almost caramel-like flavour without being sickeningly sweet so be sure to use good-quality dates [I used Maître Prunille Dattes Moelleuses Dénoyautées] to get it right. With the addition of toasted walnuts and bananas, they make a healthy snack box option for kids and adults alike.

BANANA & DATE MUFFINS

Ingredients:

200g dates, pitted

1 cup full cream milk

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1/3 cup butter, unsalted

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/4 cup light muscovado

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of kitchen salt

Method:

  • Line 12-hole muffins pan with paper lines or grease the holes with butter and lightly flour them.

  • Cream the butter and sugar until smooth and combined. Put the dates in a microwave safe bowl.

  • Add milk and heat on high for 2 to 3 minutes until dates are softened or leave soaked overnight.

  • Cool this mixture completely and blend the mixture in the blender until it forms a smooth paste.

  • Add date paste, mashed banana to creamed butter sugar mixture. Carefully add dry ingredients.

  • Lastly add oil, mix it to form a batter without lumps. Fold in toasted walnuts and vanilla extract.

  • Pour in the prepared baking pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes till a tooth pick comes out clean.

  • Cool muffins in pan for 5 to 10 minutes before turning them out to cool completely on wire rack.

Banana & Date Cake

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