vegetable oil

Oat Date Muffins

by Nancy on July 12, 2011

in Breads,Snacks,Vegetarian

About 25 years ago I occasionally worked in southern California, inland near the Salton Sea. On one trip the group I was with stopped for a travel break at Hadley Dates on I-10 near Indio. It was a small run-down building used as a packing house with a gravel parking lot for a half dozen cars. There were about 20 women stationed along 2 conveyor belts sorting and packing dates. On a counter were samples for us to taste and a few items for sale like boxes of dates and mixed dried fruit trays like you see at Christmas. I vividly remember two things about this stop. First, I tasted my first Medjool date. It was the perfect eating date – large, soft, and sweet. Second, one of the products for sale was date sugar. I’d never heard of date sugar. It is just very dry dates ground to a powder and used like sugar. I purchased two items that day, a box of Medjool dates and a pound of date sugar.

With date sugar in my cupboard, I now had to decide how to use it and eventually came up with a recipe for oat date muffins. These are what I call traditional muffins. They are barely sweet muffins that are more like bread and designed to eat with a meal. They aren’t sweet like Costco muffins that are more akin to cake. Not that I don’t like Costco muffins, they’re just a different type of food. My first attempt came out dry so I wanted to add some oatmeal to make them moister. They were still dry so I decided I needed oat flour. I ended up grinding oatmeal into flour in my blender. When I later ran out of date sugar I had to grind dates into sugar too. The process was a lot of work so I didn’t made oat date muffins very often.

Recently while looking for some other ingredients I discovered that Bob’s Red Mill made both oat flour and date sugar and if I couldn’t find them locally where Bob’s Red Mill products are sold I could mail order them. Oat date muffins are now back in my menus!

PS – Last winter I was down in the southern California desert again and wanted to see if Hadley Dates was still there. I really expected that it would be gone or, because it was so small, I would miss it. Not the case! Hadley Dates has expanded into a tourist stop complete with freeway sign, large sales room, snack shop serving date shakes and enough parking for tour buses. Unfortunately the packing operations which were my favorite part have been moved.

PSS – A couple of weeks after I mentioned to Carrie that I found oat flour and date sugar at Bob’s Red Mill, she was attending the BlogHer Food conference where Bob’s Red Mill had a display. The people at Bob’s Red Mill graciously sent us samples of some of their products so we will be mentioning Bob’s Red Mill, using Bob’s Red Mill products, and thanking them for samples in some of our upcoming recipes. Thank you to Bob’s Red Mill!

Oat Date Muffins

Makes 12.

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill oat flour
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill date sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  1. With spoon, mix dry ingredients.
  2. Add wet ingredients and mix just until blended.
  3. Grease muffin tin if not using paper liners. Spoon mixture into muffin cups.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.


Simple black bean and corn salsa.

I learned to do much of my cooking without recipes. Cooking was based on what ingredients were available and one kind of guessed how much of each to use learning by trial and error. I love simple recipes like this where it is easy to remember the ingredients and amounts. Here you just use equal portions of the main ingredients. If you have leftover beans either in the refrigerator or in the freezer, use them. If not, use 1 14 oz. can of beans drained. I prefer frozen corn over canned for its fresher flavor but use what you’ve got on hand. Choose the chilies based on how much heat you want; bell pepper for mild, Anaheim for medium or Jalapeno for hot. Out of season you can use canned chilies. Likewise you can choose the variety of onion based on season or flavor. Use green onions in the spring, later in the year choose red, yellow or white based on your preference. You get the idea. The dressing is equally simple, standard oil and vinegar with only one spice.

Simple Black Bean and Corn Salsa

  • 3/4 cup cooked black beans
  • 3/4 cup whole kernel corn
  • 3/4 cup tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup green chilies
  • 3/4 cup onion
  • 1/4 cup cilantro


  • 2 T vinegar
  • 3 T vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  1. Chop tomatoes, chilies, onion and cilantro.
  2. Combine all ingredients in bowl.
  3. Mix dressing in separate bowl, pour over vegetables and toss.
  4. Marinate in refrigerator to allow flavors to combine.