I have grown up at a house, which boasted of the tallest Date palm in the city and served as landmark for people around. Even my school mates knew me more by the ‘girl who lives in that tall tree house.’
It was a wonder to have such great access to dates especially in winter. It is only now that I have become conscious of why my family should consume dates more often but thanks to the palm, I grew up with an abundant supply.
The reason I try and add dates to our diet is the many benefits one receives from it as it is a natural and rich source of many essential nutrients. Some of the common benefits are listed below.
Image Credit: Deepali Jain
Dates are an abundant source of dietary potassium and low in sodium which is highly beneficial for nervous system. It majorly comprises of sugar (80%), protein, fibre and small quantities of various minerals. Many of these lead to good bone health and reduce the occurrence of osteoporosis.
They also serve as a good source of energy and boost energy levels within half an hour of consuming them.
Dates also aid in several diseases or disorders like relieving constipation or diarrhoea leading to regulate digestive process, heart problems, sexual dysfunction, anaemia, abdominal cancer to name a few.
They are commonly known as effective deterrent against night blindness when consumed orally.
They are free from cholesterol and contain very low fat; making them ideal for muscle development and weight gain or even for health conscious people.
They are excellent source of iron and very good for treating anaemia.
They act as natural sweetener in many recipes and can help in skipping added sugar.
They are commonly available and should be consumed regularly to maintain natural intake of nutrients. Consume them regularly to stay healthy. You can partake them in various ways – as they are available in form of dry fruits or have them after soaking them overnight in water or add its paste to curd.
Eggless Date & Walnut Green Tea Infused Cupcakes
I am not really a tea-drinker and can be tempted very rarely to drink tea. But when I started developing this recipe I was suddenly struck with smell and aroma of tea infused bake. I did not actually know the exact flavour I could smell but I was hooked on the idea of infusing tea in the recipe.
After a lot of thought I decided to go for Long leaf Green tea. Since I focus largely on healthy bakes I have not used refined sugar and substituted regular maida or flour with whole wheat.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yields: 6-8 large cupcakes or 10-12 regular sized ones.
1 ½ cups of whole wheat flour
½ cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of Demerara sugar
3/4 cup of unsalted butter (170-175 grams)
1 1/4 cup of milk
1 ½ tablespoon of chamomile tea leaves (or 24 grams tea)
½ – 1 cup of water
1 cup of seedless dates, chopped
½ cup of walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of baking powder
½ teaspoon of baking soda
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup blanched almonds for topping (optional)
Image Credit: Deepali Jain
Line or grease muffin cups or tray. Coat walnuts with 1 tablespoon of flour to avoid them sinking to the bottom. Set aside.
In a small pan, place the butter, milk and tea leaves and place over low heat. Allow the butter to melt completely. Then let the mixture simmer for 1-2 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes then strain. Collect the melted, camomile-infused mixture in a bowl. You may need to press the residue to extract as much as possible. Some butter will stick to the tea leaves and some would have evaporated. You should be roughly left with ½ cup of butter and 1 cup of milk mixture. This is tea infused liquid.
To this mixture add chopped dates. Let the dates steep in the milk for 20-30 minutes.
In the meanwhile, blanch almonds by placing them in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and immediately place them in ice-cold water. Peel the almonds. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C, and toast the almonds for 5-6 minutes till they are nice golden brown. Allow them to cool and slice them coarsely. Set aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C
Sieve the flours, salt, baking soda and baking powder together.
To this dry mixture, add sugar and mix.
To the dates and tea mixture, add vanilla extract and water.
Using a wooden spoon mix both wet & dry mixture together till the batter is uniform. Add chopped walnuts and mix gently.
Pour the batter into the prepared tray or cups. Sprinkle blanched almonds on top.
Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the temperature to 180 C and bake for another 10-12 minutes or till done. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes. De-mould and allow to cool completely. Serve with hot tea or coffee or with a glass of cold milk.
Please adjust water as per the requirement. It would depend upon the final amount of the tea mixture. I used ¾ cup for this recipe.
Adjust sugar as per your requirement. Since this contains natural sweetener like dates, I have used lesser sugar than usual. If you prefer, you can increase the sugar to ¾ cup.
Since my muffin molds were a bigger size, I used only 8 but for regular sized cups, this recipe yields 12 cups.
You can use any tea of your choice. Chamomile and Earl Grey give best flavour.
When creating tea infused liquid, the milk may look like it has curdled but do not worry and proceed as given in the recipe.
You need 2 grams (approximately 1 1/2 teaspoons) of whole-leaf tea per tablespoon of butter.
3/4 cup butter = 12 tablespoon of butter
So you need, 24 grams of tea leaves (approx. 1 ½ tablespoon of tea leaves)
Verdict: The result is a beautiful, moist and aromatic tea cakes. They are a delight to eat and easy to please the crowd with.