You won’t mind using a few drams of precious single malt in these wee sweet morsels.
• 250g pitted dates, halved
• 400ml water
• 50ml single malt whisky
• 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
• 90g unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 225g caster sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla essence
• Finely grated zest of 1 orange
• 3 eggs
• 250g self-raising flour
• 2 tsp ground ginger
• 1 tsp ground cardamom
• Demerara sugar, to sprinkle
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line two 6-hole ¾-cup capacity muffin tins with paper cases. Put dates and water in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Bring mixture to the boil. Add whisky. Stir in bicarb of soda. Remove from heat and cool.
Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat, using whisk attachment, until pale and creamy. Add vanilla and orange zest. Beat until combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift flour, ginger and cardamom over butter mixture. Using a large metal spoon, fold flour and cooled whisky date mixture into butter mixture until well combined, taking care not to overmix. Spoon mixture into prepared case. Sprinkle demerara sugar over mixture. Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through when tested with a skewer. Serve.