Date Muffins 

Crumb topping:
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/8 cup desiccated coconut (optional)
½ cup canola oil
2 cups whole dates, pitted
3/4 cup boiling water
2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
To make the crumb topping:
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and coconut.  Using a fork, mix in oil until ingredients are well combined and mixture begins to hold together (but is still crumbly). 
To make the muffins:
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Place the dates in a shallow bowl (in a single layer if possible). Pour the boiling water over them, and soak for 15 minutes. Transfer the dates and soaking liquid to a food processor and puree until almost smooth  (with  a few pea-sized fruit pieces remaining). Set aside to cool slightly. 
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. 
In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the oil and brown sugar. With the motor running, add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla. Add half the flour mixture and mix until moistened. Follow with the date puree, and when thoroughly combined, mix in remainder of the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides and give a final stir with a spatula to make sure all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Top with the crumb topping and press down gently to adhere. Bake for 30 minutes.
Naomi Nachman

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