Welcome to my blog, where one may find all sorts of random, hopefully amusing tidbits about food & other things.

April 23, 2011

date-walnut bread with lots of other good things inside.

When I was younger, I used to think I was really clever that I knew what dates were and my 10-11 year old peers did not. The dialogue would continue as follows:
me: don't you just love dates?
friend: uh ... sure?
me: they're just so good.
friend: yeah, i guess. ... wait, you mean with like two people getting dinner or something right?
me: nahh bruah, the dried fruit!
friend: what?!
explanation followed.

I wasn't so snobby (or ghetto), I was actually really quiet. But I was proud of myself for being aware of this random piece of food knowledge. To this day, I enjoy knowing everything about food, although I don't flaunt it as I did in the past. And yes, to this day, my stories generally continue to lack a point and/or climaxes.

Anyway, dates have become much more widely known, and I enjoy incorporating them into my baking and cooking. I have included them in savory Turkish Rolls and chocolate cake, among other things. But the majority of my baked goods that contain dates are quick breads, one of my favorite and most comforting things to bake.

Yesterday was my first time home again since spring break, and since we had guests over, as well, I decided that making bread for next day's breakfast would be ideal. Emily from Visions of Sugar Plum has excellent recipes, and one I had bookmarked in my dorm for later was this beautiful Date-Walnut Bread with Chocolate and Orange.

The bread has a typical, able-to-mix-by-hand method. The deviations I made are listed in purple below.
The date-chocolate-nut combo is not new, if you are familiar with the Middle Eastern confectionary of Medjool dates that are stuffed with roasted almonds and then completely coated in chocolate. The citrus is necessary to cut through the chocolate, walnuts, and dates, and also to make the bread more refreshing. The not so dense texture makes the bread a perfect compliment to coffee or milk. The heavenly thick crust that envelops and tops the bread 20 minutes subsequent to its removal from the oven might not allow it to last more than a few hours.

Date-Walnut Bread with Chocolate and Orange
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup pitted dates, chopped small
  • 1 cup + 2 Tb all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tspn cinnamon
  • 2 tspn baking powder
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 medium orange
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted & sort of coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, or 325 degrees F for a convection oven with the fan.
  2. Pour boiling water over dates to completely cover them.
  3. Put sugar into a small bowl. Zest the orange directly over the sugar. This allows the oils to also mix with the sugar. Mix zest and sugar together well and set aside.
  4. Stir together both flours, cinnamon, baking powder, & salt.
  5. Whisk the egg, oil, vanilla, and orange sugar together.
  6. Muddle the date mixture with the whisk. Then add that to the rest of the wet ingredients. Whisk well.
  7. Add flour and whisk gently until there are streaks of flour left.
  8. Add the nuts & chocolate. Stir until JUST incorporated. This bread has minimal oil, so over-mixing will make the bread extremely tough.
  9. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan, and bake for about an hour. A toothpick inserted in the center should not have wet batter attached, and the center of the top should spring back when lightly poked.
  10. Let cool 10-15 minutes before inverting from the pan and cooling on a wire rack. Wrap extremely well, and eat within two days.

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