Muffins 101 and Coconut & Date Muffins

Sunday 4 January 2015

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I bake a lot of muffins in this house.  Not only are they quick and easy to make, but they make great portable breakfasts, are fabulous  for tea and coffee breaks, are the perfect elevensies munchable, go great in lunch boxes, a fabulous brunch time treat,  and are almost fool proof to bake!  These delicious Coconut and Date Muffins I am showing you today are no exception.   They are just wonderful!

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They are incredibly buttery and moist . . .  using both melted butter and coconut flavoured yogurt, for a beautiful texture and lightness.   Yogurt always creates a lovely rich batter without adding too many calories, and I just love coconut flavoured yogurt.  It's my favorite.

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They are studded throughout with little caramel-like nuggets of sweet dates, which go very well with the coconut and the final sprinkle of coconut on top prior to baking ensures a tasty toasty crunch topping.

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All in all these muffins please on many levels.   Nice to look at.   Fabulous to eat.   You will love them.  I guarantee.

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*Coconut and Date Muffins*
Makes 12

If you are looking for a moist and delicious muffin, look no further.  These are both.  Buttery.  Moist.  Stogged full of coconut flavour and chopped dates. 

120g of butter, melted (1/2 cup)
375g of coconut yogurt (12 ounces)
1 large free range egg, beaten
2 TBS milk
1/2 tsp coconut extract
232g of plain flour (1 2/3 cup)
100g of granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
150g of chopped dates (1 cup)
sweetened flaked coconut to sprinkle
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Prerheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.  Butter a 12 cup muffin tin really well (including the top) or line with baking muffin cups.  Set aside.

Whisk together the butter, yogurt, egg, milk and coconut extract together in a large bowl.   Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt in another bowl.   Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture all at once.  Stir together to just moisten.   Stir in the dates.  Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups.  Sprinkle the tops wth coconut.

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Bake for 16 to 19 minutes, until risen, the tops spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for five minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling.  Store in an airtight container.  These also freeze well.

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I think Muffins were one of the very first things I learned to cook in Home Economics at school.  They really are very simple to make if you follow a few rules and make great portable snacks.   They needn't just be sweet either.    Savoury muffins are lovely served with soups, stews or salads.

Muffin Tips

1.  I always tend to us a 12 cup muffin tin, each cup having a capacity of about 1/3 cup of batter.  This is pretty much the standard  size for non-stick muffin tins today.  You can also find larger or smaller pans.   Simply adjust the baking time by about five minutes more for larger tins and five minutes less for smaller tins.

2.  Most muffin recipes offer dire warnings, such as DON'T overmix.  Fill your muffin cups only a fraction of the way, etc.   Ignore all of this and just use common sense.  Obviously overmixing results in a less tender muffin and they can be filled with holes, but so long as you stir the ingredients together just to make a batter you will be okay.  Never use an electric mixer because this WILL result in tough muffins.  Mixing by hand is the preferred method.

3.  Your batter will range anywhere from runny (cake batter) to very thick (drop cookie dough like) depending on what ingredients you are using.   As a general rule,  the thinner the batter, the lighter the muffins will be when baked.    Don't worry if your batter is thick and gloppy.   You are in for a treat because a thick and gloppy batter will yield moist muffins with extra staying power.

4.  Buttermilk, and yogurt give muffins a special moistness and flavour.  Note, whenever you use these in a muffin, you must add 1/4 tsp of baking soda to counter-act the acidity of these ingredients and help them to raise properly.

5.  Keep the pantry stocked with imaginative add-ins for muffins.   Raisins, dried berries and fruits, nuts, pineapple, coconut, etc all add extra flavours and interest.  You can also add dry or cooked breakfast cereals, wheat germ, seeds or granola to the batter.

6.  Grease muffin tins well before adding the batter.  (I save my butter papers for this use.)  Most of the time I really prefer to use a well greased pan rather than a paper for lining the baking tins, but the paper liners to make them easier to transport if you are taking them someplace.  Otherwise I like to just well butter the pan.  Don't forget to butter the tops of the tin as well.

7.  If you don't have quite enough batter to fill all of your muffin cups, fill the empty ones with some water to help prevent them from scorching or warping.

8.  For an extra bit of specialness, before baking muffins, sprinkle them with some sugar, or cinnamon sugar, coconut flakes, granola, chopped nuts, etc.   You can also make a streusel topping by combining 140g (1 cup) flour, 200g soft light brown sugar (1 cup), 80g of rolled oats (1 cup), 2 tsp cinnamon and 120g (1/2 cup) of cold butter cut into bits.  I pulse these together in a food processor until the mixture forms fine crumbs.   You can store this in a covered jar in the freezer and just use as needed.

9.  To jazz up leftover muffins, cut them in half, butter each half and then pop them under the grill (broiler) for a couple of minutes.  You can also reheat them in the microwave, but do be careful as they can quickly get soggy and really don't need as much time as people think they do to reheat.  I like to place them on a piece of kitchen toweling and only heat them on high for about 15 to 20 seconds.  It's usually enough, depending on the ferocity of your microwave.

10.  Have fun with them.  Don't be afraid to add things to your muffins for added interest, texture and flavours.  I have used chopped dates in these muffins today, but if dates aren't your thing, add something that is.   Chopped stem ginger would be lovely with the coconut as would dried cranberries.  

11.  As a rule of thumb I always like to mix the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients together separately and then combine them with each other, usually adding the dry to the wet instead of the other way around.  


  1. These look delicious! I make muffins often for supper, especially if there is no fresh bread in the house. We love lemon poppy seed, banana, chocolate chip and apple muffins.


  2. How much baking soda? Recipe says 1/4 teaspoon, but tips say to use 1/2 teaspoon with buttermilk or yogurt.

  3. Thanks Lorraine. All sound lovely. I make a really delicious garlic and onion version to have with soup!xx

    Well spotted Laura, the 1/2 tsp is a typo. It should have read 1/4. I have fixed it now. Thanks! xx

  4. I like the idea of using coconut yogurt..

    You never know ..I make muffins too..and my Christmas ones didn'r rise..could not believe it as they always do!:)

  5. Yogurt makes lovely muffins Monique. Is your baking powder a bit old? I cannot imagine your muffins not turning out! xx

  6. As always- Thank You! Thank you for a new muffin idea and a way to use up these dates in my fridge. And thank you for always giving the US equivalent measure- it sure helps a lot!
    Happy New Year!

  7. You're welcome Leonora! Always happy when I can share a recipe someone else finds useful! Happy New Year to you too! xx

  8. You made me smile..

    I should show you all my bloopers!

  9. Hello! I am in Connecticut, USA.

    I have just started a cooking & baking blog to capture my personal favorite recipes all in one easily accessible place. No grand ambitions, just a bit more order to my recipe box / web links / emailed and facebook.

    And then I saw "The Great British Baking Show" on PBS, have become suddenly ambitious to try a lemon curd cake and a victoria sponge, and found your blog post on translating ingredients from English to American.

    Just writing to say Hello to you. I'll explore your posts more later on, I'm sure!

  10. Nobody ever sees my bloopers Monique! They never get published. xxoo

    Thanks so much Kathleen for your lovely comment. I have never watched the Great British Bake Off. I know . . . I am way behind the times. I need to watch it. Have a lovely day! xoxo


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