I've mentioned before that I have a nut allergy. Generally not a big deal, but, on occasion, particularly the kind of occasion that involves muffins or scones or Wall Drug cinnamon rolls - the gooey, sickeningly sweet ones that you think about for five hundred miles as you drive past five hundred Wall Drug cinnamon roll billboards, the ones begging you to forget that other state you are trying to get to before sundown and just give in, pull over and taste the best cinnamon roll of your life, the ones that you throw your ETA to the wind for and you succumb to just to find out that they are actually disguised killers, unavailable without pecans or walnuts - yes, on occasions like that the allergy gets a little inconvenient.
I just love breakfast pastries. So much. So so so much.
One of the two local coffee shops I frequent, Moose & Sadie's, is among the growing number of restaurants that is hyper-cognizant of the growing number of people with nut allergies, so they label everything with great detail and they also always always always offer several no-nut treats. And then, right when you think they couldn't be more perfect, they throw in sunflower seeds in lieu of nuts, because, evidently, they know that some of us might want to occasionally experience the crunchy bits in our muffins that you nut-tolerant people probably take for granted. And then - then! - with those crunchy, non-lethal bits, you happen to get one of the best muffins you've ever tasted. And that is why Moose & Sadie's is the best place on earth. (And they don't need five hundred billboards to prove that.)
The muffin recipe below is my version of Moose & Sadie's Carrot-Date-Sunflower Seed Muffin. If I may be so bold, I'm going to go ahead and say that it is quite comparable in tastiness. And I added bran so it's healthy too, right?
(No. It's not healthy really. It's not awful, but it's not healthy. Bake and eat at your waistline's own risk.)
I hope you like them. I really think you will.
Carrot Date Sunflower Seed Muffins
Yield: 18 muffins
Adapted generously from this carrot muffin recipe, which I'm sure is also quite good
1 1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup oat bran
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ pound shredded carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
½ to 1 cup chopped dates (or, better yet, the coconut-covered kind at co-ops and natural grocery stores)
½ cup raw sunflower seeds (they will toast in the muffins while baking)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter your muffin pan.
Mix all the dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together the brown sugar, eggs, and oil until well mixed. Add the vanilla. Pour into the flour mixture. Stir in the carrots and dates and sunflower seeds.
Distribute batter in muffin pans so that each cup is about two-thirds full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a knife place in center-most muffin comes out clean. Let cool a few minutes before removing.
These store in an air-tight container for a good week and freeze v. well. Just microwave them for 20 seconds and enjoy.