One of the best purchases I’ve ever made was buying a used copy of the book Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts. It contains 411 pages of dessert. It is an exhaustive catalog of recipes for cakes, tortes, cookies, pies, crepes, cream puffs, custards, mousses, and more. One would be hard pressed not to find a recipe to try.
This date nut bread recipe is easy to make and not too sweet. It goes great with a cup of coffee or a cup of tea in the morning. It’s also the perfect grown-up recipe for impressing guests. Maida actually categorizes this recipe as a cake, but I’ve always thought the final product resembles more of a date nut bread or a date nut loaf.
8 ounces pitted soft dates (each date cut into 3 or 4 pieces)
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup boiling water
1.5 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3.5 ounces walnuts (coarsely chopped)
Recipe for Date Nut Bread:
Put dates, butter, and baking soda in a large bowl. Pour on boiling water. Stir until butter melts. Set aside to cool completely.
Adjust rack to center of oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square cake pan.
Sift together flour and baking powder. Set aside. In a small bowl, stir egg, vanilla, and sugar just to mix. When date mixture is cool, stir the egg mixture into it and then the flour mixture. Stir in the nuts. Turn into pan and tilt to level batter.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until top is well-browned and springs back firmly when lightly touched. Cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes. Cover with a rack and invert. Remove pan. Cover with another rack and invert again to cool right side up.