Best served with tea as an afternoon snack, Date Walnut Loaf is very moist with bursts of sweet chopped dates and crunchy walnuts. Makes for a great gift idea, and can be easily frozen for later too!
Dates. Do you love them or do you hate them? There seems to be no middle ground when it comes to dates. I’m sure if you lean more toward the hate side, this Date Walnut Loaf will change your mind! They’re not pretty to look at, so I completely understand the aversion for some. But, not all food needs to be pretty to be tasty and delicious!
DRIED DATES – GIVE THEM A TRY!
Truth be told, I’ve always loved dates. My mom used to make Date Squares when I was young, but that was the limit of my exposure to dates. During my college years, I took a job at a financial company and was assigned to work on an in-house software transition team. One of the transition team members was Larissa; a very sweet lady. She was from Lebanon and she would regularly bring whole, pitted, Lebanese dates to work as a snack.
She would offer them to us and I would always politely decline. I thought they were the ugliest things on the face of the planet. The dates that I were accustomed to came from a cellophane package. When opened, they resembled a mushy, black substance that turned into a sort of jam when cooked and sandwiched between two layers of crumb. Right?
Not so! Larissa brought these golden brown, honey-glazed, large pitted dates. One day, I finally gave in and tried one. They were sweet, moist, and chewy; they almost melted in the mouth. I wouldn’t say that I loved them, but they were really good!
Now, dates are not something that I regularly eat, but from time to time, I will buy a pound or two at the bulk store. I never snack on them like Larissa did, but I will incorporate them into my recipes. Like this Date Walnut Loaf, for instance, or my Anytime Protein Bars.
DRIED DATES – THE BEST TYPE TO BUY!
This loaf was super delicious. The dates offered a sweet, chewy consistency and added to the moistness of the cake, while the walnuts offered that slight crunch and nutty taste. When purchasing dates, try to find Medjool dates. I’ve read that these dates are sometimes called the Cadillac of dates because of their semi-soft, sweet, moist, and meaty texture.
Lastly, I left the loaf plain – no decoration or added frosting at all – because with a loaf like this one, I prefer to enjoy it with a smear of good butter and a cup of hot tea. To me, that’s the perfect afternoon snack or late morning breakfast.
Date Walnut Loaf
- 2 cups chopped dates
- ⅓ cup butter, room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 cup tea, strong and hot
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 large eggs, whisked
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Place the chopped dates into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter, salt, baking soda, and brown sugar.
- Pour the hot tea over the ingredients and stir to combine. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a loaf pan by spraying it lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Once the dates have cooled, add the vanilla extract and stir to combine.
- Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and beaten eggs to the date mixture.
- Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the date mixture.
- Next, fold in the chopped walnuts.
- Transfer the batter to the loaf pan. (You can top the filled loaf pan with extra walnuts or chopped dates if you wish.)
- Bake for 50 minutes. Test to see if the loaf is baked by inserting a toothpick into the loaf. If it comes out clean, the loaf is ready. If not, bake for another 5 minutes and test with a toothpick once again.
- Allow the loaf to cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and sit on a wire cooling rack to cool completely.