Day 15 of March Muffin Madness brings us Gluten-Free Banana Date Muffins from Leslie Benson of My Gluten-Free Cucina.
This is Leslie’s first time participating in March Muffin Madness and I know all of us are ready to welcome her! We always happily greet the one with the warm and delicious muffins in hand, right?
Kidding. Sort of. 😉
I was “introduced” to Leslie via seeing one of her recipes that a mutual gluten-free blogger friend had shared on Facebook. I am not totally sure of the specific recipe or even the friend that helped me find Leslie’s site but I’ve been following My Gluten-Free Cucina ever since!
Because Leslie announced this week that she will be celebrating her 5-year blogging anniversary next week, I suspected that my appreciation for My Gluten-Free Cucina started around that time. When I checked my gfe Facebook page, I discovered that her gluten-free Stromboli-style Mummy Bread was the first recipe of hers that I shared on my gfe Facebook page (during October of course).
That was the same year that Leslie started her blog. So I’m pretty certain that’s when I first “met” Leslie because when I learn about a site with terrific gluten-free recipes, I immediately start sharing it with my readers.
Leslie also just reminded everyone about the very first post on her site, her homemade Gluten-Free Garganelli Pasta. What an excellent and telling recipe post she used to kick off her blog!
It’s gluten free; it’s pasta; and it’s Italian. All of Leslie’s specialties!
Of course, you might have guessed that from Leslie’s blog name alone. “Cucina” of course means kitchen in Italian.
The photo of Leslie’s homemade Garganelli pasta remains as part of her blog header. And that’s just one of many of Leslie’s wonderful gluten-free pasta recipes on her site. Some of you reading who have not attempted to make homemade gluten-free pasta will probably be happy to know that not all of her pasta recipes require homemade pasta.
But Leslie really shows how easy it can be to make your own pasta and I will personally attest to the fact that homemade gluten-free pasta can be both easy to make and tastes simply amazing.
In addition to her Garganelli Pasta, you might try her Gluten-Free Pappardelle with Mushroom Cream Sauce and Veal Meatballs, Gluten-Free Orecchiette with Pancetta and Peas, Easy Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pasta, or Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Turkey Meatballs.
You can see all of Leslie’s Italian recipes here. She even has a Restaurant Classics category, which are 5-star meals you can make at home and includes recipes like Jumbo Scallops with Risotto, Cubed Squash, and Brussels Chips.
In addition to the Italian dishes (e.g., Beef Bracciole, Italian Pot Roast, and Risotto Cakes) that Leslie specializes in, she shares a little bit of everything else in the main dish category. Hasselback Chicken Breast (my family loves this recipe), Beef and Broccoli, Chicken Adobo, Southwest Chicken Bowls, Jambalaya, Crab Cake Waffles; Air Fryer recipes; Sheet Pan recipes; and Soups, Stews, and Chowders.
You might be thinking hey, Leslie made muffins for us today; does she also make other sweet recipes? She does.
Oh, I almost forgot. One of Leslie’s most popular recipes is her Homemade Oyster Crackers. Understandably so.
Have you missed delightful oyster crackers? Your wait is over, folks!
Leslie’s such a positive spirit in our gluten-free community. You can learn more about her and her personal history—cooking and otherwise—on her Welcome page.
Now we need the details on Leslie’s Gluten-Free Banana Date Muffins! One of them is that Leslie likes to use Better Batter gluten-free flour blends in this recipe and in her baking in general.
She has a discount code if you’d like to give them a try yourself! She says: “I used Better Batter Original All-Purpose Flour Blend in this recipe. You can use my code MGFC35 at checkout for 35% off all of your Better Batter non-sale purchases.”
Gluten-Free Banana Date Muffins Recipe
Leslie says: “Say goodbye to those dry, bland-tasting gluten-free muffins at the grocery store. These Banana Date Muffins are incredibly moist and hearty, a real stick-to-your-ribs breakfast!
Dates are wonderful for baking, and they give a natural sweetness to these muffins, not to mention a fiber boost. I also added a little brown sugar substitute to the mix, but you can omit this or use real brown sugar.”
- 2 cups dried pitted dates
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (plus 1 tbsp more for muffin tops, optional)
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 ripe banana
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp light brown sugar or brown sugar alternative (optional; see notes)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 280g all-purpose gluten-free flour blend
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Mist a 12-cup nonstick muffin pan with cooking spray or use paper liners.
- Boil water and add the dates. Cover and remove from heat, then let them soak for 15 minutes.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining wet ingredients (eggs, mashed banana, honey, vanilla, and brown sugar).
- Pour the soaked dates and their water into a blender, food processor, or electric chopper. Puree into a paste; do it in 2 batches if needed.
- Combine the pureed dates with the melted butter and cool 10 minutes.
- Next combine the date mixture with the other wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir together with a dough whisk just until moistened.
- Fill the 12 muffin cups, level to the rim.
- For nice, rounded domes, smooth the tops of the muffins with a small spatula.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes. Check that a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Melt the remaining tbsp. of butter, and brush over the tops of the muffins. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
- Remove the muffins and serve warm, or cool on a rack to freeze.
I used Better Batter Original All-Purpose Flour Blend in this recipe. Be sure to use my code MGFC35 at checkout for 35% off your non-sale purchase of any Better Batter products.
If you are using a different flour blend that does not contain xanthan gum, I recommend adding 1/2 teaspoon to the dry ingredients.
I used this brown sugar blend alternative instead of light brown sugar.
The dried dates I used were this brand.
Thaw frozen muffins in the refrigerator. To reheat, microwave for 1 minute.
Today’s MMM Prizes
All giveaways are now closed. Thanks to all who participated!
~ Cauliflower Power: 75 Feel-Good, Gluten-Free Recipes Made with the World’s Most Versatile Vegetable (two winners; sponsored by Artisan Books)
This cookbook from Lindsay Grimes Freedman (of The Toasted Pine Nut—a site worth following) is a great one whether you want to go absolutely crazy adding cauliflower recipes to your life or simply want to try a few new cauliflower recipes from time to time. You can read my full review here as well as grab a totally delicious recipe from this cookbook, Gluten-Free Shepherd’s Pie with Whipped Cauliflower Topping. Folks, I was not a huge fan of either cauliflower or shepherd’s pie before trying this recipe but it definitely made me a convert on both!
I think it’s really important to note that Lindsay just didn’t decide that she wanted to make a ton of gluten-free cauliflower recipes. She was looking for delicious low-glycemic recipes that would be better suited for her husband who had been newly diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes than the tasteless recipes she had found to date. Cauliflower became her palette for healthier versions of all the beloved classics—Cheesy Pizza, Creamy Mac ‘n Cheese, Double Chocolate Brownies—as well as her own brand-new creations, Seeded Sandwich Bread, Trail Mix Breakfast Cookies, and Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake with Caramel Topping, to name just a few. Now what you really want to know … do the recipes taste like cauliflower? Nope!
~ Baking Ingredients
~ Natural Delights Fresh Organic Medjool Dates (one winner; sponsored by gfe)
Leslie used dried dates to make today’s recipe but fresh dates are one of my favorites for baking. (I keep mine in the fridge if I’m not using them immediately. Note that if you don’t use them within a short timeframe; they are still usable and good but soaking them in boiled water for a few minutes to soften them may be necessary.)
~ Truvia Sweet Complete Brown Sugar Alternative Blend (one winner; sponsored by gfe)
Grand Prize Giveaway
All giveaways are now closed. Thanks to all who participated!
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Originally published March 28, 2023; updated April 8, 2023.