Naturally-Sweetened Whole Wheat Date and Almond Muffins

The morning breeze carries with it a slight chill. A good indication fall is inching into LA. The afternoons are sunny and warm, but by evening a light jacket is in order. I can finally start thinking about cooking and baking foods to cozy up my home. And these muffins are a good beginning.

Every crumb from these muffins is absolutely delicious. With it's delicate sweetness, crunchy texture and healthy components, it's a recipe worthy of weekly appearances on your kitchen counter. It contains no sugar, just a modest amount of maple syrup, which imparts a glorious aroma. The white whole wheat yields a light crumb (I use Trader Joe's flour), and the dates and almonds give it a boost of sweetness and a kick of crunch. A worthy combination packed into this healthy treat.

They'll pair well with your favorite cup of tea or coffee as an afternoon snack. Or even as a quick breakfast when you're on the run. You might even sneak in one or two

just because

and that's totally understandable. You'll see.

Healthy Whole Wheat Muffins with Dates and Almonds

recipe developed for Binah Magazine

1 cup (190g) white whole wheat flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup (140g) coconut oil, melted

2 eggs

½ cup dark amber maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup chopped pitted dates

½ cup chopped unsalted roasted almonds

If your coconut oil is solid, heat it in a small saucepan until just melted and still cool. Preheat your oven to 350F. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. In different bowl, mix the coconut oil, eggs, maple syrup and vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet. Fold the dates and half the chopped almonds into the batter.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners and, using an ice cream scoop, fill them three quarters of the way. Sprinkle the top with the rest of the almonds. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Store in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.

*If your taste buds are accustomed to the sweetness level of most baked goods, you might find that you'll want a tad more sweetness, simply add an extra 1/4 cup of honey or 1/4 cup dark brown sugar.