Blueberry Muffins

Lemon zest and cardamom give these Blueberry Muffins their dreamy flavor and aroma. Oat and millet flours produce a muffin that is hearty and filling, while dates and applesauce lend sweetness and moistness without the use of sugar and oil.

12 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped (about 8 ounces)

1 cup non-dairy milk

1-1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

3/4 cup millet (dry)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 cup applesauce

1 teaspoon lemon zest, packed

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (if frozen, do not thaw first)

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the chopped dates and the non-dairy milk into a small bowl and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes (so the dates may soften).

2. Grind the oats and millet into a flour in your blender (a high-speed blender will do a finer job) and place into a bowl. Add the baking powder and cardamom to this and stir with a fork.

3. Place the dates and non-dairy milk into the blender and blend until smooth. Add this date mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients along with the applesauce and lemon zest, and mix with a spoon until all the dry ingredients have disappeared.

4. Gently fold in the blueberries and chopped walnuts. Spoon the batter into a silicone muffin pan or metal muffin pan lined with parchment paper muffins liners, filling each muffin cup about 3/4 full.

5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The muffins will be done when the tops have begun to brown and cracks appear, and when a toothpick inserted comes out pretty clean. (These are hearty muffins, so they will rise but not too much.) Let cool in the pan for at least 15 to 20 minutes before removing.

Notes: Blueberries tend to sink into the batter during cooking, so I like to push a few blueberries into the top of each muffin just before baking (make sure they're pushed in though, or they will roll off during rising). If you've never used cardamom, I urge you to seek some out. Cardamom is wonderfully aromatic; in a pinch you can substitute with 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon.

Preparation: 30 minutes, Cooking: 30 minutes

Makes: 1 dozen muffins