If Date Bread sounds old-fashioned and homey, to be sure, that’s part of its charm. But this version has an updated spin.
Made with 100 percent whole-wheat flour, no dairy and zero added fat, the whole-grain flavor is just the right counterbalance for sweet, sticky dates, creating a perfectly satisfying combination.
Quickly assembled in a single bowl from simple pantry items, the bread gets a delightfully chewy dimension from the dates, which also help keep it nice and moist. It makes a lovely warm-from-the-oven companion with coffee or Sunday brunch. The last few slices can double the next day for breakfast on-the-go or a late-night snack. And it freezes beautifully.
With their mild caramel-like flavor and paper-thin skins, dates are full of fiber, antioxidants, and valuable nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, iron, and manganese. Interestingly, the date palm is thought to be the oldest tree crop cultivated by man.
If you thought you were not a date fan, you may be surprised how good this bread really is. And then you too might start looking for excuses to bake this one again and again.
Adapted from Happy Herbivore Abroad, by Lindsay S. Nixon
2 cups white whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups chopped dates
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon hot water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have ready a lightly greased (or an ungreased, non-stick) standard loaf pan.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Mix in the applesauce and vanilla. Set aside.
Place dates in a bowl, and pour hot water over the top. Let sit for a few minutes. Then pour the softened dates, along with the water, into the flour mixture. Stir until just combined.
Transfer batter to the bread pan and bake 45 minutes to an hour, until the bread has risen and is crusty on the outside, and firm through the center. Remove from oven, and serve warm or at room temperature.