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Monday, August 15, 2011

Mango Date Muffins

Knock, knock, knock... is anyone still here?  Anybody?  Good news... I'm alive and I have a kitchen again.  Oh wait, I didn't tell you about the fact that we didn't have kitchen for a while because we sold our house!  Oh yeah that was a couple of months ago, we sold our house at the end of May and started what may have been some of the busiest weeks ever. 

We went to Maryland (twice actually) for my friend Michelle's bridal shower and wedding.  I did make some cute personalized sugar cookies (see the recipe here), a bunch of cupcakes (Triple Lemon and Lemon Meringue - lemon's her favorite) and a devil's food chocolate cake with coconut cream filling and frosting - of course I don't have any good pictures.

The next week we packed up our whole house into a Pod container, closed on our house and left for Jamaica for a week for my cousin Blake's wedding - welcome to the family Summer! 

When we got home from Jamaica we were supposed to move into an Extended Stay America for two weeks but as luck would have it, Todd's cousins offered up their house in exchange for petsitting while they went on vacation so we moved there instead. 

Finally mid-June rolled around and we closed on our new house.  Of course the work didn't stop there as we've since been busy remodeling and modernizing our 40ish year old house that was a little bit stuck in the 70's. 

Painting paneling and beams, built-ins and trim, adding French doors, new sectional... it was so much work but worth it and I'm really glad we kept the panelling.

So far we've finished (is a room ever really finished?) the family room and Aubrey's room.

New beadboard and chair rail and soft yellow walls with the pink curtains from her nursery at our first house to make a cozy little girl's room.  We still need some pictures for those frames and to paint and move the chandelier from the dining room.

So the good news is that things are starting to calm down ever so slightly so I'm not making any promises at this point but hopefully I'll get back to blogging with a little bit more regularity.  I do have several recipes that I want to share that have been piling up even though it seems like I'm only cooking when we have guests these days.

For now, I'm going to share one of my favorites from the past couple of months. 

I baked these as jumbo muffins but they could be baked in regular size muffin tins as well.  They are reminiscent of a spice cake or carrot cake but with delicious chunks of mango.  Although the decision to make these muffins was an improvisation with leftover ingredients mostly because I had a couple of mangoes around because of plans to make mango peach salsa that didn't materialize, they turned out to be one of my favorite things I've made this summer.  I've definitely added the recipe to the list for repeat desserts.  And since they are muffins, I vote they even work for breakfast - just hold the ice cream.

Mango - Date Muffins
Inspired by Fresh Mango Bread from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Yields 18 jumbo muffins

4 eggs + 1 egg yolk
1/3 cup canola oil
3 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 - 3 cups diced, peeled mango (about two mangoes)
1/3 cup diced dried dates
2 T dark rum
1 T orange zest

Soak chopped dates in dark rum in a small dish until softened.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin tins with baking spray or butter and flour.  Whisk together eggs and oil in a small bowl.  In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.  Pour the egg mixture over the dry ingredients and stir just until combined, either by hand with a wooden spoon or on low speed in mixer.  The batter will be thick.  Drain dates and add along with mango and orange zest and stir to distribute.  Spoon batter into muffin tins, filling about 2/3 of the way full. 

Bake the muffins about 25 minutes until golden brown.  A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.  Cool for about five minutes in the pan and then transfer muffins to a wire rack to finish cooling.  These muffins are excellent served slightly warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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