This recipe for date nut bread might just change your mind about dates if you are on the fence; it’s not only easy to make but incredibly rich, spicy and tasty as well!
Date Nut Bread
Dates have a bit of an odd reputation – considered either a delicacy wrapped in bacon in fancy restaurants or as food only fit for older people, with little room in between sometimes!
However dates and nuts in desserts are one of those combinations that has a really great place in anyone’s diet. Sweet, soft, and rich in nutrients, they work beautifully in this date nut bread recipe.
Date Nut Bread Ingredients
Make sure you look at the recipe card at the very bottom for the exact amounts, as there are a few fiddly ingredients here.
• Chopped pitted dates
• Boiling water
• Baking soda
• All-purpose flour
• Ground cloves
• Vanilla extract
• Chopped walnuts or pecans
How To Make Date Nut Bread
• Place the dates in a medium bowl and combine the boiling water and baking soda together
•Pour the mixture over the dates and soak for 15 minutes, stirring to combine
• Grease a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside
• In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and salt
• In a different bowl beat the butter and sugar together until crumbly and incorporated
• Beat in the vanilla and the egg
• Add the flour mixture and date mixture, stirring in the nuts at the end
• Pour into the prepared tin and bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
• Cool for 10 minutes before serving
• Store wrapped at room temperature for up to 3 days
Why Combine Baking Soda with the Dates?
A common step in recipes involving whole or chopped dates is to first soak the dates in a baking soda and water solution.
The simple answer is twofold: firstly, dates can be quite tough if they haven’t been softened properly, and that toughness doesn’t work well with baking. The baking soda helps to soften the skin of the dates when mixed with boiling water, making for a tastier date.
The other reason is to do with acidity – dates are surprisingly acidic, and the baking soda can help remove that tart acidity and make it more palatable. The baking soda also works to help nullify tannins in the dates that could affect the taste; it’s pretty much the same thing as people in the Southern USA adding baking soda to their sweet tea.
This is also where the lift in the recipe comes from. Instead of needing to use baking powder or yeast in the bread itself, the combination of baking soda and the acidity in the dates will create all of the lift the bread needs to be airy, light, and delicious.
Types of Nuts to Use
This recipe recommends you to use either chopped-up walnuts or pecans and is a pretty common combination with dates.
However, walnuts and pecans are very different nuts when it comes to the flavor profile, so which is best?
The key thing to think about is texture versus taste. Walnuts definitely have the best texture, as they are super crisp and hard yet shatter easily, making for a really satisfying bite.
Pecans, however, have a bit of a less great texture yet have a way nicer flavor. If you can imagine the taste of a fresh pecan pie versus the taste of walnuts in a salad, that is sort of the difference you can expect.
The trick is to think about which of the two nuts you would prefer to bite into when eating a slice of date nut bread and just go with that one.
Or, go really crazy and do something entirely different, like using hazelnuts instead.
Looking for more delicious quick bread recipes? Try these out:
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Date Nut Bread
- Prep Time
- 15 minutes
- Cook Time
- 1 hour 5 minutes
- Karlynn Johnston
- 2 1/2 cups chopped pitted dates
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons butter softened
- 1-1/4 cups sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
- Place the dates in a medium sized bowl. Combine the boiling water and baking soda in a large measuring cup then pour over the dates. Let soak for 15 minutes, then stir to combine.
- Preheat your oven to 350 °F. Grease a standard 9×5 loaf pan and set aside.
- In another bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and salt, then set aside.
- In another large bowl, mix the butter and sugar together until crumbly. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
- Add the flour mixture and mix alternately with the date mixture. Stir in the nuts.
- Pour into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 65-75 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to wire rack to cool completely.
- Store covered at room temperature for up to 3 days. This is even better the second day after you make it!
- YES it’s only 2 tablespoons of butter, thanks to the dates you barely need any oil or butter in this recipe!
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.