Bingo! But it was a Saturday, after all, and I have to bake on Saturdays! I haven't baked for two Saturdays in a row, and let me tell you, it's killing me!
So these are the muffins I baked. Maida calls them "Raisin Date Cupcakes." You can tell already that Alicia's going to love them. But sadly, I had no dates anywhere, and I was not about to do any more grocery shopping one day before I left the country for half a year. So I decided that I would do a bit of a freezer clear out. I needed 12.5 oz. of dried fruit, and this is what I put together: about 4 dried pears, a large handful of dried apricots, a bunch of prunes, some dried cherries, some golden raisins, and some currants. It made for a nice, festive mixture with a lot of flavor but no one fruit dominating. It was probably a lot less sweet than the original date version. And I felt good about making a dent in my dried fruit reserves.
This is a very wet muffin recipe (I have no idea why these are called cupcakes), like the gingerbread muffin recipe. Mine seemed fully baked when I took them out of the oven, but I found them a tad too moist--it's probabaly hard to judge doneness with all that dried fruit. But I enjoyed them, and so did Michelle, and I somehow got over my procrastinating and whipped the house in shape--more or less...
Here's the recipe; adjust it to the dried fruit you like and have on hand.
Raisin Date Cupcakes
10 oz. pitted dates (or other dried fruit)
2.5 oz. raisins (or other dried fruit)
2 cups minus 2 T. boiling water
1 t. baking soda
4 oz. (1 stick) butter
1/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
finely grated rind of one orange
1/3 c. (2.3 oz.) brown sugar (if you're using very tart dried fruit, you may want to slightly increase this amount)
2 large eggs
1-1/3 c. (5.2 oz.) flour (you bet I used up some of my whole wheat flour here)
Heat the oven to 350 and spray or line 12 muffin cups. Cut up the dried fruit with scissors and put in a medium sized bowl. Sprinkle the baking soda over and then pour the boiling water over that. Let it stand to cool.
Cream the butter with the salt, vanilla, and orange rind until soft and fluffy; add the sugar and beat it some more. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until each is well incorporated. Then gradually add the flour on low speed until it is just incorporated. Mix in the water and dried fruit by hand. The mixture will be very wet and liquid. Pour/spoon it into the muffin cups and bake for about 30 minutes or until the tops spring back when pressed right in the middle. You might want to do a toothpick test as well. Enjoy with a cup of tea on a lazy (or not so lazy) Saturday morning.