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Tu B’shvat Muffins

Recipe by Tori Avey

For the muffins:
3/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried figs
1/2cup dates
1 cup unsweetened almond milk, soymilk or milk
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup pomegranate juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
1/4 cup light olive oil or canola oil
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup barley flour, quinoa flour, or almond flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the optional topping:
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. Cover the raisins with water and bring to a boil. As soon as the water boils, turn off the heat and let the raisins sit in the water to plump for 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry with a paper towel.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If your figs have tough stems on them, remove them and discard. Roughly chop dates and figs. Set aside.
Use a blender or food processor to blend together the dates, figs, almond milk, applesauce, pomegranate juice, and cinnamon until very smooth. It will take 2-3 minutes to blend all ingredients to a smooth consistency, depending on the power of your blender. The end result should be similar to the texture of apple butter or smooth fruit preserves. Set mixture aside.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, light olive oil, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, barley flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a “well” in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour mixture from the blender into the well, and then add the egg mixture to the bowl. Fold the dry mixture into the wet ingredients until the dry ingredients are just moistened and a lumpy batter forms. Do not overmix — if you do, your muffins will turn out heavy and dense.

Don’t worry if you see a few small pockets of unmixed flour, they will dissipate during baking. Fold plumped raisins and chopped walnuts into the muffin batter with a light-handed stir.

Grease a 12-cup muffin tin or use paper muffin cup liners. Divide batter equally into muffin cups, filling each cup to the top and mounding the surface slightly.

For the topping:
If you’d like to top the muffins, mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl using a fork. Sprinkle about a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon-sugar evenly across the surface of each muffin.

Place muffins in the oven and bake for 23-27 minutes, until the tops of the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let muffins cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin and cooling on a rack. Do not let the muffins cool completely in the tin; they are quite moist and will stick to the tin if you leave them there too long. Serve warm.