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Cast aside your guilty conscience and munch your way through these nutrient-rich muffins for breakfast. The recipe, from BBC GoodFood Bakes & Cakes, is low in refined sugar and fat. Instead, you get to enjoy a high proportion of oats, dried fruit and nuts which adds a healthy dose of carbs and fibre to your first meal of the day and makes you ‘feel good’. If you wish to omit the egg, switch it for a tablespoon of banana puree or applesauce to keep muffins light and airy. Best eaten warm from the oven, you may store leftovers in an air-tight container for snacking during the day.



175g self-raising flour

50g quick cooking oats

140g light muscovado sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 egg, room temperature

150 ml buttermilk or yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 tablespoons sunflower oil

150g stoned prunes, chopped

50g pecan nuts, chopped


  • Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6/Fan 180C. Butter 8 muffin tins or line them with muffin cases.

  • Put flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon and baking soda into a large bowl. Rub everything with fingers.

  • Ensure that ingredients are evenly blended. Beat egg, then stir in the buttermilk, vanilla and oil.

  • Lightly stir the egg mix into the flour. Fold the chopped prunes and pecan nuts into the mixture.

  • Divide between tins, filling the cases to the brim. Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden.

Feel Good Muffins

Ramadan is that period when you find dates of different varieties with colours ranging from honey yellow, red to brown in most shops and supermarkets. It is traditional to break the day-long fast with dates and water followed by a more consistent meal. Dates are also shared not only on the iftaar table but among the poor and needy as well as relatives and friends. I received a whole bunch of juicy medjool dates from one of my patients a couple of weeks back and have been wondering how to put them to good use. This beautiful recipe, from Three and a Half Chefs, has been passed down from mother to daughter to be posted on her blog for the world to view and share.



125 g unsalted butter

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of kitchen salt

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 cup chopped dates, pitted

3/4 cup boiling hot water

1 teaspoon baking soda


  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 F. Lightly grease standard size 7 or 8-inch loaf pan.

  • Place chopped dates in a medium bowl. Drop one teaspoon of baking soda in 3/4 cup hot water.

  • Stir once and pour this mixture over the dates, stir and leave to sit. Cream the butter and sugar.

  • Add an egg and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and fold in.

  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl till just combined. Carefully fold in  pecans and date mixture.

  • Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Turn out on wire rack to cool.

  • Cool completely before storing the cake in an air-tight container. Slice and serve warm with tea.

Dates & Nut

Been a while since I last bit into a nice and moist banana muffin. I have long given up on store bought and even bakery ones because they simply do not know how to make ‘a nice and moist banana muffin’. So my advice to you is to make them yourselves and please do teach others how to make them too. After all everyone needs to know how to bake a banana muffin; it is an essential cooking skill even for those who have never baked before. The recipe, adapted from BBC GoodFood, takes no more than half an hour to mix but gives the unparalleled satisfaction of 100% homemade.



85g butter, melted

250g all purpose flour

25g quick cooking oats

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 medium bananas, mashed

1 egg, room temperature

100g light muscovado sugar

175ml full cream milk

2 teaspoons white vinegar

50g pecan nuts, chopped

100g dark chocolate, chopped


  • Heat oven to 200 oC. Butter and flour an eight-hole muffin pan or line with paper cups.

  • In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon powder.

  • In another bowl, mix together egg, melted butter, sugar. Stir in banana, milk and vinegar.

  • Fold into the flour mixture until just combined and add chopped pecans and chocolate.

  • Do not over mix. Spoon into muffin pan up to 2/3 full, sprinkle with remaining pecans.

  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until well risen and golden. Leave in pan for about 10 minutes.

  • Remove muffins from pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Makes 8 regular muffins.

Homemade with love

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