Updated: Jan 21, 2021
This is a dense, earthy, luscious bread, brimming with caramel clustered dates and bitter walnuts. If winter had a perfect fruit loaf, this would be one.
If you can, don't eliminate the brandy. It's just a tablespoon, but it creates a wonderful aroma in the bread.
When you're baking the loaf, check it at about the 25-30 minute mark to make sure it hasn't begun to brown too much. If it is getting too brown, simply lay a piece of aluminum foil on top of the pan. At this mark, the bread should require only another 10-15 minutes of baking. Don't over bake it, or you will lose some of the delectable moistness.
This is a wonderful base recipe in which to add more flavors or spices, if you'd like. The next time I make it, I will substitute pecans for the walnuts and add bittersweet chocolate chips. A cream cheese frosting would also be a delicious addition.
Hope you enjoy it! Let me know how you made it your own. 🥰
Prep Time: 15 minutes Yield: One loaf
8 ounces (approximately 2 cups) pitted and roughly chopped medjool dates
1/2 cup vegetable oil or melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brandy or other dark liquor
1 cup hot coffee (or 1 teaspoon espresso powder dissolved in 1 cup hot water)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a standard loaf pan.
In a large mixing bowl, add the dates, oil or butter, baking soda, salt, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and brandy. Pour the hot coffee over the ingredients, stirring to combine. Let the mixture sit for 15-20 minutes to soften the dates and meld the flavors. Stir in the beaten egg.
In a separate small bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the date mixture, stirring well until smooth. Stir in the walnuts.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake the bread for 25-30 minutes, then check to see the bread is not over-browning. If so, place a piece of aluminum foil on top of the loaf pan and continue baking another 10-15 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly on a wire rack before unmolding.