I just did a search of my own blog and realize that I have never mentioned Luby’s Cafeteria. How is that possible?
Luby’s is a Houston institution that figures quite heavily into my childhood. We loved that place and it was such a treat to go for dinner. Usually we headed there after church. All the choices laid out before a child is an amazing thing. The freedom! I could order whatever I wanted and, more often than not, my eyes were bigger than my stomach. The Misses love Luby’s as much as I did (do) and every trip to Houston involves at least one trip to the cafeteria.
I’ve sure I never had these muffins at Luby’s, but have had the recipe saved forever. I figured they couldn’t be bad, but wasn’t anticipating how GOOD they were! I thought they might be on the plain side, but I was so wrong. The muffins are so moist, not super-sweet with the dates adding the perfect amount of sweet and the pecans adding the crunch.
Luby’s Date Nut Muffins
Yield: 12-14 muffins
1 1/2 cups chopped dates
3 cups hot water
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup pecan pieces
2 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1. In a medium bowl, combine the chopped dates and hot water. Let stand for 10 minutes.
2. Drain and discard water. Cover dates and refrigerate until cold.
3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 medium muffin cups with paper baking liners or lightly grease.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until creamy.
5. Add water, pecans, eggs, baking soda, vanilla, and salt. Mix until well blended.
6. Add in flour and mix just until moistened.
7. Fold in cold dates until well-blended.
8. Spoon batter into muffin cups.
9. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
10. Let stand a few minutes in the muffin pan before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.
Source: Houston Chronicle, June 9, 2004