Saturday, June 12, 2010

Grandma Jennie's Date and Nut Bread

A month or so ago we went to visit my grandparents, who I unfortunately don't get to see very often because where they live requires a few hours to get to (including an hour and a half ferry ride). I wanted to bake something so that my family would have something to eat on our trip over and throughout the day, and also to have something to give to my grandparents. So this bread/loaf was perfect for that because it makes 2 loaves - one for us and one for them. (And why do people always call loaves breads?? If there's no yeast in it, it's not a bread! At least that's how I think. Though I just noticed I have a tag on my blog for "breads/loaves" so obviously I'm getting sucked in too.)

I'm not a big dried fruit person and in particular don't really like dates, but I've had some good date loaves and date bars, and my mom loves dates so I went with this date and nut bread (loaf!!!) And I also have the largest stockpile of dates ever for some reason so it was good to use some of them up. The loaf turned out really well - moist, yummy, and everyone loved it. I like lots of spices so next time I would add more. Oh and despite using 2/3 whole wheat flour (and 1/3 all purpose), you can't tell at all that it's mostly whole wheat.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Garden Harvest Cake
Mom's Banana Apple Bread
bill's Coconut Bread
Pumpkin Bread

Grandma Jennie's Date and Nut Bread
Adapted from Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More

Makes 2 loaves

1 pound pitted dates, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups boiling water
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, slightly firm
1 tsp grated navel orange zest
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (lightly packed) brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups walnuts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1. Position the rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 350F. Generously butter two 8"x4" loaf pans, and line the bottoms with baking parchment.

2. Place the dates in a bowl. Stir in the boiling water and the baking soda. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and allspice. Set aside.

4. Cut the butter into 1 inch pieces and place in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the orange zest and mix on medium speed until lightened in colour, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and beat for about 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar and beat for about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary and mix for 1 minute longer.

5. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for 1 minute after each addition, then blend in the vanilla. Scrape down the side of the bowl.

6. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the date mixture, diving the flour into three parts and the dates into two parts, beginning and ending with the flour. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and using an oversize spatula, fold in the walnuts.

7. Divide the batter between the prepared loaf pans and bake for 50-60 minutes. The bread is done when it's firm to the touch, the sides begin to release, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

8. Remove from the oven and let cool on racks for about 20 minutes. Invert each bread onto a rack and gently lift off the pans and the parchment. Turn the breads right side up and let cool.


Joanne said...

I think we call them breads for lack of a better word...and to make us think that eating a slice of pumpkin chocolate chip bread for breakfast is perfectly acceptable. Not that I do things like that...

I really like dates! Awesome loaf.

Johanna GGG said...

yes it is a loaf to me - I get so confused when I see a bread and find it is a cake not a yeasted bread - but I guess at the end of the day it is how it tastes and this looks excellent no matter what you call it

Kristin said...

I have never had dates but I would not mind trying it in this recipe. It sounds and looks delicious! I am sure that your grandparents loved it.

Snooky doodle said...

I m a sucker for dates and this is a recipe I will surely try :) yummy

Hannah said...

Oh I LOVE dates, they're like candy to me! This bread would be devoured in less than a day or two in my household!

Natalie... said...

Mmm wow i bet this was delicious, it looks so moist mmm!

Chef Aimee said...

This looks so good and I bet the orange zest in this just brings out the flavor of the dates!

grace said...

what a nice treat for your grandparents (and for you). the fruit is perfectly scattered and i'll bet the hint of orange is perfect.

The Duo Dishes said...

Mmm, this would be nice with just a little butter. It's sweet and crunchy in one bite.

Deborah said...

I don't have dates very often at all, so this would be a great way to have them!

Heide said...

Thank you for posting this.