Delicious, moist, classic Date Nut Bread. Makes 2 loaves. You can half the recipe (use the "1/2X" button to adjust the ingredients) to make just one loaf, if you prefer.
1lb.pitted dried datescut in half or cut finer, if you prefer
1 1/2cupsboiling water
1/2cupunsalted butterat room temperature, or salted butter, reducing the added salt below accordingly
1 1/4cupsbrown sugarpacked, light brown sugar recommended, though dark brown sugar will also work
2largeeggsbeaten (beat lightly with a fork in a small bowl before adding to the batter)
1teaspoonvanilla extractor vanilla bean paste
1TablespoonFancy molasses*see Note 1 below
3cupsall purpose flourmeasured with the spoon and level method
1teaspoonfine saltor use 3/4 tsp if using salted butter
1 1/2cupschopped pecans or walnutschopped as coarsely or as finely as you prefer
You will need two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 metal loaf pans. For glass loaf pans of the same size, reduce the oven temperature for baking by 25 degrees F. *See Note 2 below for information on using other pan sizes.
Preheat oven to 350F (regular bake/not fan assisted).
Grease the loaf pans lightly, then line with parchment paper, covering the bottom and the long sides and extending over the edges a couple of inches, to use as handles to remove the loaves later.
Soak the dates: Add the chopped dates to a medium bowl. Pour boiling water overtop and stir in baking soda. baking soda. Let stand 10-15 minutes, to both soften the dates and to allow the liquid to cool before adding to the batter..
Combine the dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together, the flour, baking powder, salt and chopped walnuts or pecans. Set aside.
Make the batter: In a large bowl with an electric mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar, until light, about 2 minutes. Add the beaten eggs, vanilla and molasses. Beat until well combined, scraping down the bowl a couple of times, as needed. *Do a quick check of the date mixture and make sure it isn't hot. A little warm is fine, but not hot, as you don't want to cook the egg in the batter. Add the date mixture (with any liquid in the bowl) and mix in on low speed (so it doesn't splash), until combined.
Add the flour mixture to the batter and mix in on low speed, mixing just until combined. Divide batter between prepared loaf pans.
Bake the loaves in 350F oven for 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours or until tester inserted in the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Note that baking times will vary, depending on oven and baking pans used. Check regularly after 1 hour of baking and start testing when it looks like it is nearing done.
Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then lift out of the pan and remove to a wire rack, carefully removing the parchment paper. Allow to cool almost completely before slicing.
1. Fancy molasses if recommended for best flavour, though Cooing molasses will work, but produce a bolder molasses flavour. I don't recommend Blackstrap molasses. If you like a darker, more molasses-forward date loaf, you can double the molasses, without the need to change anything else.2. Using other pan sizes ... I have not tested this recipe in 9x5 loaf pans. The larger pans may cause issues with proper rising (may not rise well or may fall after baking) and the baking times/oven temperature listed may not work for a larger loaf. I highly recommend using the pan size specified, for best results. I have not tested this recipe as mini loaves or muffins. It may work, but I have no guidance to offer in terms of baking time, as I haven't done it myself.3. Date Nut Bread can be stored well wrapped at room temperature for 2-3 days, or can be kept well wrapped in the fridge for 5-7 days. You can also freeze up to 2 months.Be sure to read the Ingredient and Cook's Notes above this Recipe Card, for more tips on making this recipe. You will also find Step-by-Step photos there, as well.