Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Date Nut Bread Extraordinaire
The beauty of baking your way through a cookbook is that you routinely discover recipes you never would have chosen on your own, and you absolutely and unexpectedly fall in love with them.
Even though this has happened to me many times with Baking From My Home to Yours, I really couldn't imagine it would happen with this recipe. I've never liked date bread and scarcely ate dates until about six years ago when I gave them another try and found I liked them. But a lifetime of not liking something takes time to reprogram, so my initial reaction to this pick was "great...date bread...ugh." But it was picked by my friend and blogging buddy Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet. If Mary had chosen brussels sprouts pudding, I would have gamely attempted it.
The recipe calls for 3 ounces of cream cheese, and cream cheese is something I never buy unless I'm making a cheese cake. It might be the secret weapon that gives this bread its lovely texture and makes it an excellent keeper. The preparation is typical quick bread except that it bakes for a long time. It smelled great while it baked and made me curious (I wouldn't say eager, nope).
Once it cooled, I sliced off a piece and took a tentative bite. It was incredibly delicious, crusty on the outside, soft and tender on the inside, little pockets of sweet, chewy dates contrasted with the crisp crunch of the walnuts. Absolutely fabulous. It was even better the next day. I was in love, so much so that I promptly bought more dates so I could make it again.
If you'd like to try this recipe, Mary has it for you here. She made two versions, one with dates and one with apricots, and they both look scrumptious. As much as we love apricots, I can't imagine making this bread with anything other than dates, my new favorite fruit.