When I was little I remember my Grandma used to buy Van de Kamp’s Date Nut Bread. She, my Mom and Dad all enjoyed it with Philadelphia Cream Cheese spread on thin slices. I would occasionally enjoy a slice or two as well. I had completely forgotten that memory until I saw this recipe for “Moist N Dark Nut Bread” in one of my Cooking Light Annual Recipes cookbook. The minute I read the ingredients, the memory came flooding back and I could remember the taste of creamy fresh Cream Cheese on the moist and nutty bread. It’s pretty easy to make and the taste is excellent – chewy and moist and flavorful. It freezes well, or keeps for several weeks in your fridge, if wrapped well in plastic wrap.
2 cups chopped pitted dates
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups boiling water
2 cups sugar
1 Tbls vegetable shortening (I didn’t have any, so I used butter)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
3 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1. Combine dates and baking soda in a medium bowl. Pour boiling water over date mixture. Stir and let cool.
2. Preheat oven to 350
3. Place sugar, shortening, salt, vanilla and egg in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer until well blended.
4. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, level with a knife. Add flour and date mixture alternately to sugar mixture; beginning and ending with flour. Stir in pecans.
5. Pour batter into 3 (8 ½ x 4 ½ - inch) loaf pans. (I bought three foil disposable pans) coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on wire racks. Remove from pans; cool completely.
16 servings per loaf – 107 calories per slice.
Serve with a light spread of cream cheese – your taste buds will thank you!