Sunday, October 12, 2014

Date Nut Bread

I have loved dates since I was pregnant with my son Jeremy.  The craving for fresh dates was so strong, I used make the 60 minute round trip drive, down from our mountain home, just to purchase dates.

I still love dates.  There are groves of date palms in Palm Springs.  Alessandro and I used to stop at the date stands to buy fresh dates, date malts, date cookies and date cookbooks. He knew my love for dates and always cheerfully pulled into each of those tourist date stores.

When I'm in Italy, I always buy a package of Moroccan or Tunisian dates during my first grocery stop. They are sold still on the stem. So delicious! I nibble in the evenings on dates and pistachios.

Last November I found Israeli dates.  They looked different to me. Peering into the sealed package, I saw fat dates, which had none of the dried wrinkles I was expecting. When I unwrapped them later to eat, I had to throw them away.  They tasted green and they were not dry, but oozed a syrupy juice. Perhaps they were picked too green?  

This weekend, to use up some old hard dates, I searched and found this recipe. I did change it based on comments I read on the site.  I choose to omit the sugar, but then at the last minute, I decided to put 1/4 C brown sugar, along with some butter, on the bottom and sides of my antique tin loaf pan. I used olive oil and whole wheat white flour, as I always do for cookies and cakes.

The end result was fabulous! I've already sliced and frozen the loaf.  I'll enjoy a piece each day this week in my lunch at work.

Date Nut Bread

Makes: 9x5 inch loaf

2 1/2 cups chopped dates
1/4 cup butter or olive oil
1 cup boiling water (or ½ C boiling water and ½ C fresh Orange juice)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
Zest from one organic washed orange (opt)
1 t ground cinnamon (opt)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees F). Grease and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the dates and butter. Pour boiling water over them, and let stand until cool.

When the dates have cooled, stir the mixture to break up any clumps. Mix in the brown sugar and egg until well blended. 

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; stir into the date mixture until just blended.

Stir in walnuts. 

Pour into generously buttered pan which has been sprinkled with 1/4 C. brown sugar.

Bake for 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean.

adapted from:

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