Delicious, Easy & Healthy Date Nut Bread

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Holiday Memories

I remember my mother buying a can of date nut bread for the holidays. So we had it at Thanksgiving and Christmas and the rest of the year we never thought about it. The memory is strong, not because the bread was so good, but because it came out of a can and it was round and for children, that was very interesting.

We children spread a little butter on ours, but I've since come to realize that it's actually much better plain with good strong coffee or maybe spread with a little bit of softened cream cheese.

After not having date nut bread for 15 years, I suddenly found myself making my own this year. I think it was because I found a container of chopped dried dates on sale for half price two days after Christmas. And after all, half-price is half-price, you have to buy it. When you get home with the unusual ingredient, then you figure out what to do with it.

So as New Year's approached I experimented. Although not a scientist, my experiments were fruitful. This is a flavorful moist quick bread, far better than anything I had as a child. And it has a mild flavor, which means children are more likely to enjoy it, not the strong flavor of the dark bread that comes in the can. It's also a quick bread that is very adaptable; there are a number of options, additions, changes you can make so that the recipe is uniquely yours and suits your family's tastes.

GETTING READY TO COOK

So let's begin with the ingredients list. You want to assemble your dry and wet ingredients separately and then combine them right before baking.

The Dry Ingredients

2 cups self rising flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

10 packets Splenda, NutraSweet

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ginger

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine the ingredients well, making sure to get all the lumps out of the brown sugar. Set aside while you combine your wet ingredients. Then, combine 1/2 cup of chopped dates with 1/3 cup water and cover loosely with plastic. Place in microwave for 30 seconds. Remove, stir well, and return to microwave for another 30 seconds. Set aside and allow mixture to cool before you blend it in with your wet ingredients.

Set your oven to 350 degrees, but it runs a little hot, try 325. If your oven runs cool, try 375. Either way, I recommend checking and rotating the pan 180 degrees every five minutes during the cooking time, to make sure your bread is browning evenly. If you trust your oven and it cooks consistently and predictably, you can ignore this suggestion.

Thoroughly grease or spray an 8 x 8 baking dish or pan. I do not recommend a traditional loaf pan, because that produces a bread that is so thick that it is very difficult to get it done in the middle before it burns on the edges.

The Wet Ingredients

1 cup 2% or whole milk

two eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

date and water mixture

Combine ingredients well. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry folding as you go. When all ingredients are well mixed, pour the batter into a greased 8 x 8 baking dish or pan. Usually this bread is done and very lightly browned within 25 to 30 minutes.

However, I recommend that you begin checking your bread at 20 minutes to gauge whether it is cooking rapidly or slowly. I would recommend the fingertip test, but the last time I used it my bread seemed nice and firm. My finger left no impression so I removed the bread from the oven.

When we sliced into the loaf, the center was still wet and uncooked. I highly recommend you use the old standby of inserting a butter knife into the center to see if it comes out clean or sticky. As of course you know, sticky, is an indication to give your bread a few more minutes.

BREAKFAST, LUNCH, OR DINNER

This bread is wonderful hot from the oven, but it is also good cold, and it is also good toasted three days later. I have never actually had it last three days, but if it did….well, you could toast it. It would probably also go well with Apple Butter.

This date nut bread is excellent for breakfast, brunch, or just snacking. It is flavorful and sweet enough to serve as a dessert, either plain or with a very light dusting of powdered sugar. And you certainly don't need to wait for a holiday to make this. It's quick, it's easy, and it's really good.

It's also easy to make it if you don't have all the specified ingredients. Below is a list of possible substitutions. Any of these would work depending on what you have in the house, and on your personal tastes. I wish you Happy Baking!

POSSIBLE SUBSTITUTIONS

The cup of milk can be replaced with orange juice or pineapple juice. Both give an interesting citrusy undertone to the bread, reminiscent of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern taste combinations.

There is no reason why you cannot substitute half a cup of walnuts or hazelnuts or even cashews, for the pecans. If you choose to use cashews, you'll want to rinse them under warm water to remove the excess salt.

Which brown sugar you use is entirely up to you. I have made this recipe with Light Brown Sugar and Dark Brown Sugar. It is delicious either way, it is simply a matter of preference or of what you happen to already have in your kitchen…or of what your next door neighbor happens to have in his or her pantry.

You could play with the spices, adding a little more or less cinnamon, or using half a teaspoon of ground nutmeg or even ground allspice, instead of the ginger. However, allspice does have a very strong and distinctive flavor, but if you like it, you might want to first try using a quarter teaspoon of allspice.

For a healthier, but denser bread you could substitute a cup of whole wheat flour for one of the cups of flour called for in the recipe. The texture of your bread will be heavier and you might want to watch it more closely in the oven to determine exactly when it is done.

If the bread is too sweet for your taste, you can cut back on the number of packets of Splenda or NutraSweet. If you want a sweeter you could use 12 packets, for a less sweet bread, try using 8 packets of sweetener. I have never cooked with Truvia, so I can't tell you what to expect if you made that substitution. Once again, Happy Baking!

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Comments - Delicious Date and Pecan Quick Bread 20 comments

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

I love to read recipies. I hardly ever make them, but I love to read them, and this was wonderful read. The row of pictures were the icing on the cake! Up and awesome!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Kathleen. I hardly ever make recipes that I read either, although they give me great ideas about how to play with the basic recipes I carry around in my head and use all the time. I have found that I like recipes that tell a story, so if there weren't a story of some kind, I probably wouldn't do a cooking Hub. The pictures made me happy, too. :)


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

phdast I was just collecting Just Ask Susan's recipes.. but this is worth bookmarking and trying when I feel creative LOL great share :) Frank


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

phdast7, this sounds delicious. My favourite cake is date and walnut but I buy that and it has butter icing through the middle. Your recipe is something I would much rather eat for breakfast with my coffee - a sweet start to my day! I nick loads of recipes online, copy them and have a go at cooking them. Best thing I've ever made was Cheesecake Factory recipe for New York Vanilla Cheesecake - it was amazing. I will try yours and get back to you later. Voted up.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Frank - Grateful to be bookmarked. To feeling "creative." Thanks for the comments. I hope it turns out well.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thanks for the great comments. Date and walnut cake...AND with butter icing!! Sounds incredibly good. New York Vanilla Cheese cake sounds wonderful, too. Funny you should mention cheesecake. I find most American cheesecakes to be fluffy, too sweet, and some what flavorless (New York Cheesecake is the exception)...

Because I grew up eating my Polish grandmother's cheesecake and it is very different. Heavy, dense, barely sweet, incredibly cream cheesy, no unnecessary, too sweet fruity concoction poured over it, just lightly sprinkled with slivered almonds. And of course a fair amount of cinnamon in the barely sweet graham cracker crust.

That was the Polish way, and I guess it will always be my favorite. Anyway, I wish you much success with the date nut bread. And, of course, walnuts would be just fine. :)


Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi Theresa,

Sounds delicious. Bookmarking this one.

The pictures are beautiful.

Have a good day. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Sue - Thanks for the comment. It is pretty good. I even surprised myself, because it was better than I expected. :) Hope your week is going well. :) Glad you liked the pictures. I do too. :)

Theresa


SimpleGiftsofLove profile image

SimpleGiftsofLove 4 years ago from Colorado

Theresa, thanks, it sounds so good, and I love this, but don't like making it out of a box! Up and useful, thanks for sharing it!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

You are so very welcome. :) Enjoy!


LadyLyell profile image

LadyLyell 4 years ago from George, South Africa

I wish I had the time to bake as the time I spend reading recipes!

I am not a lover of dates generally speaking, but over Christmas I did buy a date and walnut cake and it was wonderful.

I think that to substitute milk with ogange juice would be nicer.

Anyway, either way it sounds yummy.

Voted useful!

Enjoy your next afternoon tea and cake!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Lady Lyell - That is interesting, because actually I don't much care for dates either, except in this one recipe. Go figure. :) Thanks for your kind comments and I am off to have tea. :) Take good care.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

This sounds quite nice and I'll forward this to the family cook. Voting this Up and Useful.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hope you enjoy it. From the way you phrased the sentence, I am assuming you are not "the family cook." :) Well, I hope the family cook has success playing with this recipe. Be well. :)


Xenonlit profile image

Xenonlit 4 years ago

"And after all, half-price is half-price, you have to buy it."

I love this recipe because of the story behind it. I will look for some dates, but probably won't be able to wait for a sale...I want to bake this bread this weekend!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Xenonlit - I know, I know, sometimes you just can't wait for a sale. :) Hope your weekend baking goes well. :)


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Very timely to see this highlighted just at the baking high season! This is a versatile bread recipe that is easily adapted to taste and dietary needs. Am looking forward to giving it a whirl. :) You've chosen beautiful, inspiring photography, as usual.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

RT - You have found me out! :) It seemed that it might be a good time to recycle this one, since there is a chill in the air. When there is I start thinking about apples, pumpkins and quick breads. :) Glad you like the photographs, I was very pleased when I found them. Have a great weekend, :) ~~Theresa


Lilleyth profile image

Lilleyth 4 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

One of my fondest memories is my mother opening that same can of steamed date bread and spreading cream cheese on it! Too funny. It IS delicious with coffee. I cannot recall the name of the company that made it. She later baked a date nut bread from a Betty Crocker cookbook or Better Homes & Gardens magazine recipe, that had apples in it. I believe she called it "Date, Nut & Apple Bread". Can never read enough recipes! Great hub!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Lilleyth - So we both had families where date nut bread was special. :) And cream cheese and coffee is definitely the best. I think it would be good with apples, you can never go wrong with nuts and apples...they seem to enhance everything. :) Just re-read your "gardening the Easy Way" hub and passed it on to my grown sons. Hoping they will try it...they want a garden, but the traditional approach overwhelms them. Thanks for the comments and the follow. I hope you are having a great week.

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