Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.Advertisement
Spread 1 cup oats and the walnuts, if using, in 2 separate small baking pans. Bake, stirring once or twice, until light golden and fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes for the nuts and 8 to 10 minutes for the oats. Transfer to a plate to cool.
Meanwhile, whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, flaxseeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
Whisk eggs and brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in buttermilk, orange juice, oil, orange zest and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula just until moistened. Fold in dates, the toasted oats and nuts, if using. Scoop batter into the prepared muffin cups (they'll be quite full). Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 2 tablespoons oats.
Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown and spring back when touched lightly, 15 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen edges and turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.
Ingredient Notes: Flaxseeds are one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. They provide both soluble fiber, linked to reduced risk of heart disease, and insoluble fiber, which provides valuable roughage. Flaxseeds are perishable, so purchase whole seeds (instead of ground flaxmeal), store in the refrigerator and grind in a clean coffee grinder or dry blender just before using.
Look for packages of chopped pitted dates in the dried fruit section of your supermarket. Whole dates are sticky and cumbersome to chop.
Tip: You can use buttermilk powder in place of fresh buttermilk. Or make “sour milk”: mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk.
DIY Muffin Cups: Make your next batch of muffins or cupcakes the ultimate grab-and-go treat by lining your tin with muffin liners. No liners? No problem. Use 5-inch squares of parchment paper, coat each muffin cup with cooking spray, and push each square into the cups using a small can or bottle, pressing the paper up the sides. (It's OK if some of the paper is sticking out over the rim.) Fill each cup as directed.
2 1/2 starch, 1 1/2 fat