|Mesqute-Date Muffin (Sonoran Desert Delight)|
Climate change has got us thinking in new ways. As we continue our sixth (or is it seventh?) year of drought, Southern California gardeners are starting to consider Sonoran Desert plants for their gardens. We’ve highlighted several types of Sonoran Desert natives in recent talks: Plants of the Sonoran Desert - https://www.slideshare.net/cvadheim/sonoran-desert-2018 and Gardening with and for Shade - https://www.slideshare.net/cvadheim/shade-2018 .
Many Sonoran Desert trees/large shrubs have edible seeds or pods. Among the best are the Mesquites (genus Prosopis). Dried mesquite pods can be ground into a delicious, nutritious flour that can be used in many ways. Its flavor, which is difficult to describe, just begs experimentation! The flour is sometimes available through natural foods stores or can be ordered from on-line sources.
We thought you might enjoy this recipe that combines three flavors from the Sonoran Desert: Mesquite, dates and chia seeds. We modified a date muffin recipe to include the mesquite flour and chia. We think we’ve got a winner - they disappeared really fast during the Theodore Payne Garden Tour!
1/2 cup chopped dates1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup shortening (can substitute margarine or butter for all or part)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup mesquite flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional but sets the taste)
2 Tablespoons chia seeds
1. Place dates in a small bowl and add boiling water; let stand for 10 minutes (do not drain). Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat shortening and sugar until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg.
2. Add dates; beat on low speed until blended. Combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chia seeds; stir into date mixture until just blended.
3. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Muffins may be frozen for up to 3 months. Yield: 8 muffins.
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