30 September 2011

Gluten Free Banana Date and Hazelnut muffins

Finding a gluten free flour that works well is like finding the holy grail for coeliacs. Only five years ago, they were only available in specialist stores, and varied in quality and texture - producing pizza bases that tasted like soggy cardboard, muffins that were as dry and heavy as boulders, and gnocchi that disintegrated as soon as it hit water. Now it's easier. A combination of factors - the discovery of wheat intolerance is on the rise (as with many allergies), research and development, and the demand for unusual grains and organic produce from a population armed with better health knowledge.

I love Doves Farm gluten free flour. It is a blend of Rice, Potato, Tapioca, Maize & Buckwheat, and it comes in both plain and self raising. The self raising flour makes wonderful fluffy pikelets, and the muffins below. Usually I wouldn't add a baking powder to a self-raising flour to make cakes, but gluten free flours are a little denser, and the rising agents are not quite as strong. It just helps give them a little extra lift. This recipe could be easily made without nuts.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 150g butter (add a pinch of salt for unsalted butter)300ml milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 200g dates (see note*)
  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed.
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon 

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) 
  2. Cream butter and sugar, then add eggs, then wet and dry ingredients alternating. (I like to put the bananas, dates, hazelnuts and milk in the blender together first to make them nice and smooth)
  3. Fill muffin moulds almost to the top, and bake for 20 minutes or until the spring back when touched.

note* - in Dubai, it is possible to buy date paste in the fruit and vegetable section of most supermarkets. If you cannot find this, use dried dates, and chop them coarsely and add the baking powder and about 1/3 cup boiling water and leave to soak for thirty minutes. This will soften them nicely and make them easy to blend.

I like to cut a cross in the top of the muffin, and ice with a blend of labaneh (strained yoghurt), a sprinkle of cinnamon and icing sugar, which dribbles nicely towards the centre of the muffin. This is a tangy frosting, similar to a butter frosting but with far less fat


  1. Loved these muffins :) Thanks for sharing the recipe...

  2. Thanks for this post Sarah. This sounds like another worthy of being bookmarked and made!

  3. Loved these...I often toy with the idea of experimenting with gluten free flour. Thanks for sharing.


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