Sugar-free spice nut muffins

To go along with yesterday’s post about baking without sugar, I thought I’d share one of my more recent sugar-free recipes, which comes in the form of muffins that are sweetened with date puree. You’re probably going to look at the ingredients below and see spelt flour and no sugar and think they’re going to taste like cardboard, but that’s not the case. I consider this a very successful sugar-free muffin recipe that is both healthy and delicious.

These muffins are full of flavour and are incredibly moist thanks to the pureed natural sweetener. When developing a sugar-free recipe or swapping out the sugar for dates in an old favourite, I find additional flavours and spices are the keys to success. In this recipe, toasted pecans, vanilla extract and sweet spices like cinnamon and nutmeg help offset the subtle sweetness of the dates. If you are new to sugar substitutes, please give these a try! I promise you won’t regret it. Feel free to use any of your favourite spices or add some pure dark chocolate chips, dried fruit, seeds or other nuts if you wish.

Sugar-Free Spice Nut Muffins | A Dash of Compassion

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Sugar-free spice nut muffins

Yield: one dozen


  • 2 cups dates, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup nondairy milk
  • 1/2 cup sunflower or canola oil
  • 3 cups light spelt flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the dates, water, vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and nutmeg. Simmer over medium heat until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Once cooled, transfer the dates to a blender and blend until smooth. You may need to add up to 1/4 cup of water to help make a smooth paste. Add the nondairy milk and oil and blend briefly to imcorporate.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the spelt flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Add the date mixture to the flour mixture and mix just to combine. Gently fold in the chopped nuts.
  5. Spoon the muffin batter into an oiled muffin pan, filling each muffin cup about 3/4 full. Top with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon and pecan halves, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Store in a tightly covered container at room temperature or freeze for future snacking.



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10 Responses to “Sugar-free spice nut muffins”

  1. emmathackerfatcore — November 17, 2010 @ 6:20 pm

    those look really good. I've never really thought about sugar free baking before but I'd like to give these a go.

  2. — November 17, 2010 @ 7:48 pm

    Those look great, I'll definitely have to try them soon.

  3. blog — November 17, 2010 @ 10:09 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! These look sound perfectly healthy and plenty sweet. I'd love to add date-sweetened muffins to my repertoire.

  4. Pattycake — November 21, 2010 @ 3:50 pm

    Lovely muffins – I love baking with dates! I often make brownies with date/prune puree – it compliments chocolate so well and enables me to cut out most of the refined sugar and a lot of the fat too.

    xo Patty (Baking is Hot)

  5. marla {Family Fresh Cooking} — November 21, 2010 @ 4:20 pm

    Love that you sweetened these muffins with dates. I am linking to this recipe in my Thanksgiving Round-up tomorrow :)

  6. findingnoel87 — March 3, 2011 @ 9:57 am

    Could you use date syrup in place of the chopped dates? If so, would it be the same amount or would that change?

  7. Nicole — March 3, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

    findingnoel87: The chopped dates in this recipe are used to make a homemade date syrup by simmering them in water and then pureeing them. I've never used storebought date syrup, but I'd imagine it could be used as a substitute for the chopped dates and water. Just whisk together your storebought syrup with the vanilla, spices, nondairy milk and oil, and then continue with the recipe instructions starting at #3.

  8. Sheri — March 26, 2011 @ 5:39 pm

    These are fabulous – moist and flavourful. Added a handful of raisins.

  9. Nicole — March 26, 2011 @ 7:47 pm

    Sheri: Thanks for the feedback! I'm so glad you liked them :)

  10. Muffins are good for breakfast. I could use one of those muffins. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

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