The other night a friend of brought over a huge container of pitted dates. Naturally sweet with a slight caramel taste, dates are rich in iron, potassium, dietary fiber and tannins (which are known to possess anti-infective, anti-inflammatory properties). Originally grown along the banks of the Nile, dates are readily available at most grocery stores. They are oh so yummy.
Anyway, back to my container of dates. I woke up today to beautiful sunny skies, no humidity and low temperatures. Perfect for opening the windows and enjoying the weather.
Weather like this always makes me want to cook. I took out the container of dates and remembered a date nut bread recipe I made during a snowstorm this past winter I literally wanted to eat in one sitting. Ridiculous, I know. Slathered with butter and honey it was absolutely delicious. I couldn’t stop eating it. This bread is not very sweet and has an almost scone-like texture. This time around I just made it with the brown sugar to see how it would taste with even less sugar. Tasted just as great to me, but first time you may want to make the recipe as is. I took it from my Silver Palate cookbook, a great cookbook for classic recipes. If you like dates, I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I do.
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 chunks
- 1 cup pitted dates, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a 5x9x3-inch loaf pan. Place butter in a large mixing bowl. Add your chopped dates and sugar.
Pour boiling water on top and let sit for about 7 minutes. This ensures the dates are nice and soft. When the date mixture is cool, add beaten egg. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add to the date and egg mixture and stir well. (Just a note, the dough will seem fairly dry but don’t worry, hence the scone-like texture). Add chopped nuts (I used pecans this time) and vanilla. Stir again.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Again, dough will not naturally spread to the edges of the pan. I lightly pressed the dough with clean hands to the edges.
Bake on center rack of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Serve with creamy butter and honey if you desire. I promise, it’s worth it!