Date Nut Bread ~ A Delicious, Low-Fat, Easy to Bake Treat

Did you do any special baking projects for the winter holidays? Our family usually bakes 5-6 different cookie recipes, dozens apiece to give as gifts. In the 1950-60s when I was a child, homemade & home-baked items were traditional holiday gifts for friends.

November to January happen to be the busiest months for our graphics & web design business. Couldn’t manage to carve out the hours to bake cookies on my own this year. Sorted through my favorite recipes for something quick & easy. In the process, came across cookie selections Bri & I had planned in prior years, ingredient portions & shopping lists all in her handwriting. Tender feelings flooded up as the recipe lists swam before my eyes. Bri really looked forward to baking Christmas cookies & holiday foods…

Recipes are infused with all sorts of memories. This dark, moist, flavorful, eggless fruit bread recipe ~ quick & easy to make ~ is adapted from my mother’s Christmas ‘Classic.’ It brings back many happy memories of Christmas-time in Pakistan: the whole family taking turns beating the homemade fudge: Chocolate with Walnuts, Vanilla & Penuche (a brown sugar caramel fudge); groups of carolers coming by – listening happily to familiar songs as their breath spiraled misty whorls in the chill night air. The tradition was to give them small gifts of pocket money & oranges as a thank-you.

A tasty autumn or winter treat, Date Nut Bread doesn’t need to be assigned solely to holiday baking projects. It has a satisfying mouth-feel as the loaf is dense with dates & walnuts or pistachios (the way I made it this year, after discovering I didn’t have any walnuts on hand).

Chewy Medjool Dates & Roasted Pistachios
Chewy Medjool Dates & Roasted Pistachios

*1 cup chopped Organic Medjool Dates (or other dates of your choice / suppose soft figs would work too)
*1 cups Organic Brown Sugar
*1 teaspoon Baking Soda
*1 Tablespoon Organic Butter
*1 cup Boiling Water
*1/4 cup Organic Buttermilk (replaces 1 whole Egg)
*1/4 tsp Salt
*1 teaspoon Organic Vanilla
*1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
*1 cup chopped Organic Walnuts or Pistachio halves
*1.5 cups Organic Unbleached Flour

Pit dates & cut into small pieces (using this photo for scale)
Pit dates & cut into small pieces (using this photo for scale)

NOTE #1: Dates are extra good gooey and sticky with a slightly crystallized skin, like Medjool’s are. The ones we bought were whole dates with their pits still in them.

The first step is to pit the dates by hand using a small paring knife. Slice them in half, pull out the pit, and then cut the dates into uniform pieces with kitchen shears.

Your fingers and knife will get REALLY sticky! I wash my fingers & the knife several times in warm water to clean off all the sticky goo making handling them much easier.

NOTE #2: I used “salted” pistachios since that’s all I happened to have on hand Can you tell I hadn’t planned for my Christmas Eve baking project very well?!! I didn’t use any other salt in the recipe and it turned out fine.

NOTE #3: This recipe has another odd step to it. How the baking soda is added. (See the photos)

Sprinkle Dates with Baking Soda
Sprinkle Dates with Baking Soda
Pour boiling water over the baking soda sprinkled chopped dates

1. PUT chopped dates in a small bowl.
2. SPRINKLE with baking soda, then pour boiling water over all.

Baking soda & water will begin bubbling after hot water is poured over it.
Baking soda & water will begin bubbling after hot water is poured over it.

3. SIFT the dry ingredients together.
4. COMBINE brown sugar, butter, buttermilk & vanilla in a large bowl.
5. ADD dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
6. ADD nuts, mix. Then add dates-soda mixture and stir together.

Stir dry & wet ingredients 'til well mixed
Stir dry & wet ingredients ’til well mixed

7. SPREAD batter in 1 buttered bread loaf pan or 2 small loaf pans. (You may have enough batter for a couple of cupcakes, too.)
8. BAKE in a preheated 350F oven 40 minutes.
9. SERVE warm with whipped cream or place on wire rack to cool completely. Room temperature slices are tasty with a thin smear of salted butter. Guess that counteracts the low-fat points!

YIELD: 1 regular bread loaf pan or 2 small loaf pans w/a cupcake or two. the Recipe doubles easily making 5 small loaf pans.

Date fans in your families and among your gift recipients will be pleased. Give it a try. Highly recommended!

6 thoughts on “Date Nut Bread ~ A Delicious, Low-Fat, Easy to Bake Treat”

  1. V ~ I haven’t mastered eggless Banana Bread, yet. Mine tends to come out a bit gooey in the middle. Suspect I don’t bake it quite long enough. Or maybe the oven needs to be a bit less with a longer baking time. Will take a look at the recipe, you’ve suggested and try again. Thanks!

  2. What perfect timing! I have been craving date nut bread and on January 4th, 2010, this is posted. Thank you so much. I especially like the healthy quality to this recipe, much less sugar than others, and using organic products which I have on hand.

  3. Marsha ~ Perfect timing is right! Love it when stuff like that happens.

    This is such a quick recipe to put together. It’s so yummy, I never even thought of it as being low-fat until I wrote the post. The flavors / texture get better and better after a day or two, if you can wait that long to eat it. Let us know what you think.

  4. Thanks a million for this wonderful recipe, Marsha 🙂 I had a ripe banana on hand, so used that instead of the buttermilk (and otherwise would’ve used an EnerEgg or soymilk with lemon juice). It worked perfectly and did not overpower the taste! Already tweeted the link to your recipe. Twitpic here:

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