Dec 26, 2012

Vegan Date Nut Bread

Greetings! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas this year. I’ve been busy in the kitchen with visiting family in the house, so apologies for being absent from your email box the past couple of days!

Anyway, can you say retro? OMG (I hate using OMG, but OMG!!!). Okay, if you grew up in New York City or anywhere near it you may remember the dense, dark, rich, slightly gooey loaves of date nut bread in your local grocery store. Rumors also abound about how it was on the original Chock Full of Nuts restaurant menu in Manhattan, served as a sandwich with a generous shmear — yes, I know shmear isn’t in your dictionary, computer spell-checker — of creamed cheese oozing out its sides. Oh, yeah. That’s how I remember it.

Well, here it is… in an amazing, healthy version. Blind taste test with my mom (Brooklyn born and bred), who is here visiting for the holidays, gives it a thumbs up!

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups of medjool dates, halved and pitted (see notes) 
  • ¾ cup soy milk 
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar or any minimally processed sweetener
  • ½ cup coconut oil 
  • 1 cup whole wheat or spelt flour 
  • 1 tsp baking soda 
  • ½ tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 320° F. 
  2. Line a cake or bread pan with parchment paper. I just use one sheet of parchment and press it into the pan, making sure it’s large enough that a few inches hang out on each side. No need to use any oil as the paper will prevent the loaf from sticking. 
  3. Heat the milk to lukewarm and soak the dates in the warm milk until they become soft. 
  4. Add the sugar. 
  5. Pour this milk/date mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. 
  6. Pour the oil into the blender and mix in with the milk/date mixture. 
  7. In a large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon and baking soda. Mix well. 
  8. Slowly add the date mixture into the flour mixture until well combined. 
  9. Lastly, add the nuts. 
  10. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. 
  11. Let cool for about 30 minutes in the pan. Then gently lift the loaf out by the paper. 
Helyn’s Notes: Do not try to use ANY other dates than medjool for this recipe. Medjool dates have been called the “king of dates” and the “crown jewel of dates.” What really makes these dried wonders so special is that they are exceptionally large, contain a large amount of “fruit meat,” and are extremely sweet. Each center of the date has an elongated pit, which is easy to remove. Despite their sweetness, medjool dates only contain about 66 calories each. They are a good source of fiber and contain high levels of potassium, magnesium, copper and manganese. 
Serve plain or… with homemade cashew cream cheese. Yum.

Healthy trails,

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