Date nut bread was not a favorite when I was growing up. My mother loved it, but I don’t remember her ever making it from scratch. Dates weren’t readily available where we lived. She’d either buy the kind in the can or purchase a boxed mix with a little can of dates. Nowadays dates are easy to obtain nearly year round.
This month’s Recipe ReDux challenge is to make a quick bread. Quick breads use baking soda or baking powder to achieve a rise instead of yeast. They include muffins, scones, pancakes and of course loaves like date nut bread.
Studded with chopped dates and walnuts, this recipe was preserved on the web by the Chandler, AZ Historical Society and attributed to a lady named Edna Davis. It appealed to me because it makes a single loaf and because it has less sugar than many recipes I encountered on the web. The dates add their own sweetness and there is added sugar in the orange cream cheese spread.
Cardamom, cinnamon and orange zest add a warmth to the loaf. While researching the post I came across variations which included nutmeg and ground cloves, too…add a pinch if you want to try them. Leftover dates can be stuffed with the orange spread or used in a salad.
- 1½ cup dates, pitted and chopped
- 2 ounces Cointreau or other orange flavored liqueur (optional)
- 1 cup boiling water
- ½ cup brown sugar (I used dark cane sugar)
- 1 tablespoon butter, coconut oil or vegan spread
- 1 egg
- 2¼ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom
- zest of one orange (about a tablespoon)
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- 1 - 2 tablespoons sugar as desired
- zest from half an orange
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare a 9" loaf pan with cooking spray
- Soak the dates in a medium sized bowl along with the orange liqueur and boiling water. Allow to cool. Don't drain. (If not using the liqueur, add a little more water)
- Cream the sugar together with the butter and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the dates along with the cardamom, cinnamon and orange zest.
- Measure in the flour, baking soda and salt and mix well. It should look like a wet batter. Add a little bit of water if necessary.
- Transfer to the loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes. It should be nearly finished. Cover the top with foil if necessary to prevent over browning. Bake for another 10 - 20 minutes until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- To make the Cream Cheese Spread, mix the cream cheese with the sugar, orange zest and optional vanilla. Spread on plain or toasted slices of the date nut bread.
Quick breads are excellent for holiday gift giving. They’re perfect for portioning into mini loaf pans. You’ll get four loaves from this recipe. Do you have a favorite quick bread? It doesn’t have to be a loaf. We’re partial to scones, too.
Be sure to drop by to see what the other members of The Recipe ReDux have cooked up this month.
Creative Quick Breads
The holiday baking season is upon us. And this month we’re going way beyond grandma’s banana bread. From sweet to savory and whole-grain to gluten-free, show us your new quick bread creation fresh from the oven. And if you have a tip for wrapping and giving your lovely loaf, please share that too!