Breads,  Breakfast / Brunch,  Dessert,  Snacks

Medjool Date and Walnut Bread and Recipe Contest

Quick breads are just that, quickly prepared, no yeast for rising time, just stir and bake.  Like banana bread, date and nut breads are extremely versatile and I bake these types of breads often to have on hand for snacking and meals.   I always reduce the sugar and replace butter for applesauce to make healthier versions of what could be sugary, buttery or oily quick breads…or is that dessert?

I am always changing around the spices I use and dropping in additional surprises, like mini chocolate chips, coconut, pecans instead of walnuts or pistachios or almonds.  If I have a good base recipe, interchanging like items always seems to work well.  To state the obvious, changing out nuts for nuts, dried fruit for dried fruit, spices for spices.  Additional items are added in ¼ cup amounts, no more than two additions.

Along with the versatility of ingredients, serving ideas are endless as I shared in my banana bread recipe.  As this bread is fairly dense and not overly sweet, a quick dip in egg for French toast is a heavenly treat for breakfast topped with chunky sautéed peaches or apples and syrup.

Toasted into cubes, date and nut croutons are amazing with a fall salad of spinach, pears, pancetta, gorgonzola and balsamic dressing.  Truly a winning combination!

And speaking of winning, Caroline at Sweet Caroline’s Cooking  recently posted a Swanson’s health product review through which I found out about their Blogger Recipe Contest.

Swanson Health Products sells a full range of discounted organic foods, vitamins and supplements, natural skin care, and so much more.    To enter the contest, bloggers create an original, healthy recipe using at least four ingredients that can be purchased at Swanson’s.  Winners are chosen based on healthy, unique recipes and most popular.  So my dear friends, if you like this recipe, please share me, like me, twitter me and leave a comment!   And, if you’re so inclined, enter your own healthy recipe! Thank you from my healthy heart!

Medjool Date and Walnut Bread

1 cup pitted dates, coarsely chopped 

¼ cup date sugar 

¾ cup boiling water

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour 

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal 

2 teaspoons baking powder 

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon 

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

1 egg (1 tb. ground flax seed and 3 tb. water soaked for 5 minutes)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ tablespoons dark rum (or freshly squeezed orange juice)

½ cup chopped walnuts 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray or lightly grease a 9×5×3 loaf pan.  Combine dates, date sugar and boiling water in a small bowl.  Allow to sit and cool for about 10-15 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and set aside.  In another smaller bowl mix together the applesauce, flax egg, vanilla and rum until combined well.  Add both the applesauce mixture, followed by the date mixture into the large bowl of dry ingredients, combine well.  Stir in the walnuts.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for approximately 45-50 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick test comes out clean.

For serving with a spread I like to prepare flavored butters or cream cheeses by simply mixing in an all fruit jam like orange marmalade or pumpkin puree with a favorite spice, like nutmeg or cinnamon in softened butter or cream cheese.  The spread will last 2-3 days in the refrigerator.

I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.


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