My favorite date bread recipe comes from my favorite flour maker, King Arthur Flour. I serve it just on the underbaked side, so it’s nice and moist, with some softened butter.
ON MY FIRST visit to the Palm Springs farmers market, I came across a date seller who had the most amazingly plump dates I have ever seen. One bite and I was in love. A few weeks later, I visited their farm: 7 Hot Dates run by the Bautista family outside Palm Springs.
I had no idea how much work goes into growing dates. From hand pollinating, removing thorns, climbing up and down ladders, adding nets so the birds don’t eat the fruit: it’s not just picking dates. But when it is time for picking, it’s done in August, the hottest month of the year, when the temperature can be 120oF. They grow seven types of organic dates, and they ship to all over the U.S. and Canada. Find out more at7HotDates.com.
MAKES 1 LARGE LOAF
2 cups chopped sweet and soft dates, like halawy
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup hot coffee
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 3/4 all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350oF. Coat the inside of a loaf pan—bottom and sides—with shortening, and then dust with flour.
- In a large bowl, mix dates, butter, baking soda, salt, brown sugar, and coffee. Stir until smooth.
- Add the egg, mix well, and stir in the rest of the ingredients.
- Spoon batter into a prepared loaf pan.
- Decorate the top with some extra pecans and dates.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Don’t overbake to avoid dryness.
- The loaf is done when a small, sharp knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan on a wire rack for five minutes before turning out to continue cooling.
- Serve with lots of butter!
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