My week ends on Thursday, so Fridays are often sacrificed in the name of pleasure. I managed to do a little work a couple Fridays ago, over an egg sandwich at Curious Palate, and it was actually exciting work, research I find invigorating and new and not annoying like some other dissertation chapters I can think of. But my excitement gets diffuse, fast: on my walk home I was no longer thinking about generations of male Wordsworths, but rather muffins, ways to trick out my bike, how might I learn the bass and find a band that wants a backup singer, can I applique that embroidered flower onto something rad, what dipping sauce do I want on my yuca tortillas. I didn’t work on Wordsworth for the rest of the day.
Instead I went out and bought medjool dates.
After breakfast, as is often the case, I wanted more to eat. Some people need a little sweet to end a meal; I guess that’s the case with me but if I have the sweet then I want the savory again and there’s no end in sight. So I walked home daydreaming about crumb cake muffins, with crumbs on top and hidden inside, pieces of date in there like little candy bits and some lemon zest to keep the whole thing just this side of cloying.
I made these muffins vegan. It’s so easy with a quickbread–chia egg, almond milk and apple cider vinegar, oil–and it meant I could share them with Justin, who liked these as much as I did with a pat of Earth Balance. The best way to eat these is out of the oven, of course–but that state can be replicated. Microwave a muffin for 20 seconds, pop it in a 350 oven for 5 minutes, eat.
Cinnamon Crumb Muffins with Medjool Dates and Lemon Icing
1 T chia seeds
3 T water
1 C almond milk
1 t apple cider vinegar
1/4 C oil (I use canola)
1/2 t lemon zest
1 C whole-wheat flour
1 C white whole-wheat flour
1/4 C sugar
3 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t table salt
1 C medjool date pieces
1/2 C pecan halves
1/4 C AP flour
1/4 C brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of salt
3 T coconut oil (in its hardened state)
3/4 C powdered sugar
enough lemon juice to make an icing (I used about 3 t; start with 2 and add more slowly until the icing is drippy)
Preheat the oven to 375. Grease your muffin tin (coconut oil works great, or some spray oil).
Stir together the chia seeds and water. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the almond milk and vinegar. Add the oil, zest, and the chia seeds when they’ve formed a gel. Whisk together.
A food processor is great for the crumb topping, but if you don’t have one it’s not a big deal. Dump the pecans into the processor and pulse until they’re finely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until a sandy mixture forms. You can do all this with a cutting board, knife, bowl, and fork.
In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients, including the dates. Dump in the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
Scoop one small spoonful of batter into each of the 12 muffin cups. Spread it out using a spoon so that the batter covers the bottom of the tin. Then add a layer of crumb topping on top of the batter–a scant tablespoon per cup. Then divvy up the rest of the batter between the muffin cups. Scatter another scant tablespoon of crumb topping on each muffin.
Stash in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then dig out the muffins and let them sit on the rack. When they’re completely cool, drizzle with the lemon icing.