Leaving for Lent and a date bread (for dates)

Earlier this week we had a Fat Tuesday potluck with a breakfast-for-supper theme. We filled our bellies with Dutch babies and bacon, butter, raised waffles, applesauce, and all kinds of syrup. Then I decided to give up writing blog entries for Lent. Don't worry though, I've recruited a motley crew of boyfriends and vegetarians, bakers and mothers to handle the dispatches during those 40 days. So let me introduce you to my first-ever guest blogger:

Emily is a cake-baker, ice-cream maker and fan of nostalgic sweets. Emily loves cats, coffee and Patrick. She likes linguistics (most of the time) and tattoos. She dislikes eggs and mushrooms, though she's trying to train herself to like them (the mushrooms I mean). Emily has her own blog which, coincidentally, shares the same birthday as mine! She posts everything from adorable pictures to thoughtful quotes to funny interviews to good music videos and occasionally even offers us a glimpse into her kitchen.

Emily, take it away:

Sometimes, in the busyness of school and work and family and baking cookies, I forget about quick breads. This should not be so. I mean the name - quick! bread! - is all you need to know especially if, like me, you love bread and dessert and think they both ought to exist in the same loaf, and fast. 

This one in particular is spicy and best with butter, and packs well in wax paper for little journeys. I took some for snacks on a weekend trip over the straight and I'm so glad I did. It's adapted from Kim Boyce's Good to the Grain, my go-to "I need to feel good" cookbook.

Date Bread
Adapted from Good to the Grain

butter for your pan

1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, chopped roughly in halves
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt

8 large Medjool dates, halved and pitted

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-grain pastry flour
1/2 cup teff flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp ground nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
1 tsp kosher salt

4 ounces (1/2 cup) cold, unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup plain yogurt

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Toss nuts in oil and salt and spread on a baking sheet. Toast in the middle of your oven until they smell too good, about 12 minutes. Be watchful. Set aside to cool, leaving your oven at the same temperature.

Meanwhile, bring half a cup of water to a boil and then, once boiled, pour over dates in a container deep enough to use an immersion blender in. Let dates soften.

Butter a loaf pan.

Measure dry ingredients into a large bowl, whisking to combine.

Put the butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or use a wide-paddled spoon to mix by hand. (Be vigorous!) If using the mixer, cream for 3 minutes on medium speed.

Blend the dates with an immersion blender (or food processor, or blender, or what-have-you). In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, honey and yogurt together with the date puree.

Pour half of this mixture into the bowl of the mixer and mix on low until well combined. Add half the dry ingredients, then alternate, mixing until just combined. Scrape down the sides and stir in the hazelnuts.

Scrape into a loaf pan, smoothing out the top with a wet spatula. Bake on the middle rack of your oven for 70 to 75 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. It will be good and dark and you'll be worried it's burnt but persevere.

When it's finished, really finished, CAUTIOUSLY slide a knife around the edges and remove the loaf from the pan, so it can cool completely on a rack. Don't shake the pan to loosen, or you'll end up with this:

Makes 1 loaf. 


  1. Great post Emily. I like your photos and your honesty about mishaps.

  2. Thanks, anonymous! You can find more brutal honesty on my blog, and sometimes photos: http://thatchicken.com

    ALYSSA! I realize I'm writing this on the wrong entry but I'm glad you updated and as soon as I am camping, I'll be eating dream boats.