Is it just me, or do you sometimes find yourself wanting to make certain things, not even being entirely sure if you like them? I had this urge to make date-nut bread -- but the thing is, I don't remember ever having it before, and I don't like dates! I mean, I like baking with them, and I have before -- but I can't remember ever making or even eating old-fashioned date-nut bread. Weird.
I did have some dates in the fridge, left over from another recipe, and I do hate to waste food, so maybe that's where this came from?
Anyway, I did make date-nut bread, and it was REALLY good. Moist, sweet but not overly so, sort of caramel-y -- a really nice treat for breakfast or snack time. I brought it into work, so it got gobbled up pretty quick -- but I bet it would freeze well. Enjoy!
Yield: 1 9-inch loaf
10 oz. pitted dates, finely chopped
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut up
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1. Warm 1 1/4 cups water over high heat until it boils. Place butter and dates in a bowl. Pour boiling water over butter and dates and let stand until butter melts and mixture cools, stirring a couple of times, about 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Mist a 9-by5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
3. In large bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir with a fork. Lightly whisk egg and vanilla into date mixture, then pour mixture into bowl with dry ingredients. Stir with a flexible spatula until just mixed (do not overmix). Fold in pecans. Pour batter into loaf pan and spread evenly.
4. Bake bread until a skewer inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour to 70 minutes. Cool bread in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn bread out onto rack to cool completely.