Photos by Alice Swan

Grand Memories:

Freshly baked muffins always bring back nostalgic memories of my childhood. My mother has always loved baking for special occasions. She went through a lot of trouble to bake us a special birthday cake year after year! I’ll never forget the epic train she made me for my 5th birthday back in 1993…

There was one other day on which she would bake, muffins in particular, for us and that day was Youth Day. She always made us her famous (and super healthy, low GI) bran muffins. Probably because muffins are her favourite food – seriously!

She goes to Mugg & Bean every Wednesday morning for her giant Date & Nut muffin with a huge cappuccino. She never misses a week. To her it is just such a satisfying treat 🙂


So before Youth Day she always mixed the batter for her special bran muffins and then left it in the fridge overnight. This helped the batter thicken up and gave time for flavours to meld together and deepen.

We would wake up to the smell of freshly baked muffins every year on 16 June. Bliss!

My mother would set beautiful, individual trays for both my sister and myself, complete with a fresh flower from our garden and a wineglass of fruit juice. She is just so adorable and loving! With memories as grand as these it’s no wonder that I love muffins! To me, muffins they are the epitome of home, care and my mother.

Recipe Introduction:

I love this particular recipe so much because I have a thing for toasted pecans. They are one of my top 5 yum high inducing ingredients. Fact. The pecans toast throughout the baking process, so there is no need to toast them beforehand.

muffins recipes | healthy muffins | apple muffins

Dried dates are recommended. Feel free to use Medjool dates if you wish – they are amazing! I mostly use standard pitted dates for this recipe as Medjool dates are not as consistently available in South Africa.

Do try to find Granny Smith Apples for this recipe. They maintain their structure superbly during baking/cooking, have a distinct tartness and a strong apple flavour. It’s my go to apple for cooking and baking.

These Apple, Date & Pecan Muffins are packed with apple goodness and carry notes of spice and caramel. Absolutely delicious!

Apple, Date & Pecan Muffins
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 10
  • 230 g Cake Flour
  • 16 g Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp Ground Ginger
  • ½ Tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1t Salt
  • 100 ml oil
  • ¾ cup (220 g) Buttermilk
  • 120 g Sugar
  • 1 Egg + 1 Yolk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 200 g Fresh Granny Smith Apple, skin and core removed
  • 70 g Pecan Nuts
  • 70 g Pitted Dates
  • 1 Tbsp Smooth Apricot Jam
  • 1 Tbsp Water
  1. Start by preparing the fruit. Chop the apples into approximately a 1,5cm dice (you may toss the apple in 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, diluted with 1 tablespoon of water, to stop it from browning.) Chop the pitted dates into approximately a ½ cm dice.
  2. Preheat oven to 180ᵒC (355ᵒF).
  3. Grease and line muffin tins with individual baking paper liners (remember the recipe makes 10 large muffins).
  4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger in a large mixing bowl. Mix all dry ingredients together thoroughly and make a well in the center.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, buttermilk, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Leave the wet mixture to stand for 30 seconds so that the sugar can dissolve. Beat wet mixture again till smooth. Pour the wet mix into the well you created in the dry ingredients. Don’t mix just yet!
  6. Add apple and dates into the well too and mix slowly with a metal spoon until just combined (over-mixing toughens the texture!). Scape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and lightly stir to combine.
  7. Divide the batter evenly between the 10 lined muffin holes in the muffin tin. Top with the pecan pieces.
  8. Bake on the lower rack of your oven for 15 minutes, turning after 10 minutes. Then bake on the higher rack for a further 15-20mins or until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean.
  9. Place apricot jam and water in a cup and microwave for 30 seconds. Brush the glaze all over the top of the muffins. Enjoy!
These muffins keep about 2-3 days in a sealed container in the fridge. Alternatively they also freeze exceptionally well! Just leave them to thaw at room temperature for 2 hours and then pop them in the oven for 5-10 minutes to warm through and crisp up a bit.

If you make these muffins, use #philosophyofyum because I would love to see!

Also check out my other muffin recipes that I have sold in thousands to Coffee Shops and Restaurants. Seriously AMAZING muffin recipes:

Ultimate Bran Muffins
Pear, Apple & Blueberry Muffins
Pumpkin & Cream Cheese Muffins
Cranberry & Coconut Muffins

I’m curious… what is YOUR favourite Muffin Recipe?

Chat soon!

Aurelia 🙂

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