This bread reminds of winter, but is a delicious alternative to the usual banana bread or even coffee cake. Enjoy warm with a hot drink and a slice of butter for a truly delicious treat.
8 ounces (or 2 cups lightly packed) dried pitted dates, coarsely chopped*
1/2 tsp fine sea salt, divided
1 cup boiling water
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup brown sugar (this recipe would also work well with palm sugar)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, cold
1 tsp vanilla extract
Chop the dates and place in a bowl, sprinkle on 1/4 tsp salt then pour the boiling water over, stir the dates in the water and lightly flatten so as much of the dates are in water as possible. Leave the dates soaking in the water to come down to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
Pre heat your oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit or 175 degrees celsius.
Optional: lightly toast walnuts in your pre heating oven until light brown and fragrant.
Combine the baking soda, baking powder, another 1/4 tsp salt, ground cinnamon, ground cloves and brown sugar in a large bowl then add the flour and mix. Dice the cold butter and cut into the dry mixture until it resembles course breadcrumbs, a food processor fitted with a S blade is the easiest method though it can be done by hand.
Beat the eggs with the vanilla, mix in with the dates and then mix the wet and dry mixture until just combined, don't over mix.
Put dough into a 9"x5" oiled pan and smooth the dough out so it's even. Bake in the pre heated oven for 45 minute - 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool out of the pan
* Deglet dates, or extra dry medjool dates tend to work best for this recipe, you don't want the dates so soft that when you chop they turn to mush.
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