Thursday, December 10, 2009

Date Nut Spice Bread

I'm sorry it's been so long since my last post, but there's been yet another change in my life...

Drum roll please.......

I've moved! I'm now living in a house with three other girls, all of whom are students, but are around my age. So, soon in pictures, you'll start to see parts of my new kitchen! I'm also excited that I'll actually have more people to cook for now. It was kind of depressing making a recipe designed for six and having to pare it down for two for just Dan and me. But in all the chaos of moving I've become a tad delinquent in posting so the next few recipes I made while I was still cooking in Dan's kitchen. But hopefully I'll get cookin' in my new kitchen soon!

Ok, on to the Date Nut Bread!

This didn't start well. Not well at all.

The first thing I did was chop a bunch of dates and soak them in Triple Sec:

So I'm on my merry way, chopping and soaking, soaking and chopping, and I get my brand new loaf pan out of the cabinet...and it's too big. Like two times too big.

Commence absurdly over reactive freak out...... now. There was some yelling, some cursing, some threats to throw away the pan, and a violent thrust of the Triple Sec-soaked dates down the garbage disposal.

Fast forward to a little while later, after a trip to Target to procure the correct size loaf pan and some more dates, and let's try this again.

I did the same chopping and soaking routine as before, preheated the oven, buttered the *correct* loaf pan, and gathered all my ingredients:

butter, light brown sugar, egg, vanilla, orange zest and juice, flour, baking powder, 
baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, salt, pecans, cream cheese, sugar
(I also floured the loaf pan, but obviously after this picture was taken) 

Using a hand held mixer (my fav), I creamed the butter and brown sugar:

Next, I added the egg, vanilla, and orange zest:

amazing the difference one egg can make 

In a separate bowl, I sifted together all the dry ingredients, including the spices. I added about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture and combined. Next, I added half the orange juice, and continued to add ingredients in that order, ending with the flour mixture, until the batter looked something like this:

By this time, 30 minutes had passed so the dates (which I had been stirring occasionally) were ready to be added along with the accompanying Triple Sec and the chopped pecans:

This had to be stirred by hand 

I poured the batter into the prepared loaf pan:

and put it into the oven to bake. In the meantime, I made the accoutrement: an orange-cream cheese spread. I put all ingredients into a bowl:

cream cheese, orange zest, sugar 

and whipped them with the electric mixer until they were smooth and combined:

a little blurry, sorry! 

By this time, the bread had been in the oven for a little while and the whole house was smelling like Christmas, or what I would imagine Christmas would smell like if I celebrated it. Finally, the bread was done and out of the oven it came:

It cooled in the pan for about 10 minutes, and then cooled completely on the rack 

And here's the very simple plating:

I have to say, the best part of this dish was the cream cheese spread, probably because it was basically the cream cheese frosting that you eat on carrot cake. Even though I baked the loaf for the suggested time, I thought it was a bit dry or overcooked. And although I've learned to like dates, these were a little too overpowering, maybe because I hadn't chopped them small enough. Dan was really the one who ate the majority of the loaf, and I think it actually got better as it sat for a day or two in the fridge. But for me, the loaf was really just a vessel for the cream cheese. 

Make this when: you're asked to bring something to a bake sale and you don't want to bring just another boring bundt cake. Plus, if you don't like it, someone else will buy it so you won't have to eat it. But be sure to include the cream cheese spread because to leave out the best part would just be mean. 

Next Course: Tri-Berry Oven Pancakes


  1. My fav part of this post: The description of the over reactive freak out. Haha

    Oh how I miss being your sous chef ;)

  2. I love these type of breads. This one looks particularly edible. I hope you have a freezer and will start doubling your recipies.

    I see a road trip in the not to distant future to raid your freezer!

  3. It is validating to know that the "freak out" isn't limited to cooking at home or with me. Besides the cooking effort I am continually impressed with you trying things I know you typically don't eat a little goat cheese here, a few tomatos there and even some dates.
    By the way why didn't you use your new/old mixer?


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