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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Date Nut Bread

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
I don’t know why, but date nut bread and cream cheese sandwiches make me feel all warm and cozy. It's not like I have any connection to them from my youth, they just totally work for me. The dark sweet and nutty mellowed with a perfect thick schmear of full fat cream cheese, it's textural perfection. I was thinking about experimenting further to see what else would work as a filling, but for the moment, let's keep it classic. This bread holds well and can be frozen, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.

3/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups chopped dates
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large room temperature eggs
1 cup A.P. flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, pour hot water over chopped dates and break in the butter. Stir till butter melts and mixture becomes lukewarm. In a food processor, puree 1/3 of the mixture to make a paste. Now add that goop back into the bowl of dates and add brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, and eggs. Stir to combine. In a separate bowl combine the flour, soda, powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry stuff and add the date mixture stir to combine. Pour mixture into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes or till the loaf has risen and the top is rounded. Let cool on rack for at least 30 minutes before cutting. Really better the next day. Don’t forget the cream cheese!