It is Thanksgiving. I won’t exhaust you with all the details of for what I am thankful, but I am indeed thankful for a lot of things this year. Including my husband, for whom I am most thankful, in part for his excellent photography (he painstakingly took and edited almost all these pictures for me).
Another thing I am thankful for is quick breads. I know it may be cheating in the spectrum of bread baking, as most quick breads require nothing more than a mixture to be placed in a tin and baked. It is just that — quick. And though part of me misses the process of letting dough rise, kneading it, letting it rise again, shaping it, letting it rise again… sigh… sometimes it’s just nicer to not have to do all that work.
I’m also thankful that we randomly had a plethora of dates in our house, inspiring me to bake a bread featuring dates as the star player. It didn’t sound too appetizing at first, what with bran and mushy dates and nutmeats (?) — and to be honest, never looked too much better while preparing the bread — but once it emerged from the oven, the kitchen was enveloped with an aroma of warm, hearty, sweet date-y goodness. And the taste was even better.
And so I was thankful for the fact that I used the random dates well, that the bread was simple to make and required few ingredients (though some odd, including dates and bran and… once again, nutmeats?) and that I was able to share it with my family, of which I am also thankful. And I am thankful that I also get to share this recipe with you, and though you may initially shy away from it and its apparent unattractiveness, I dare you to pick up some dates and give it a try.
But, like I said, I won’t bore you with everything for which I am thankful. But thanks for reading this.
Debrief: Not much to change. This was one of the simplest breads I’ve ever made. Just mix the ingredients, stick in the oven, and voila. Yum.
Quick Bran Date Bread
courtesy of The Joy of Cooking
Makes two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2 cups chopped dates
Pour over them:
2 cups boiling water
In a separate bowl, beat until light:
Add slowly, beating constantly:
3/4 cup brown sugar or 1/2 cup molasses (I used brown sugar)
When these ingredients are creamy, add:
1 cup whole-grain flour (I used whole wheat… is there much of a difference?)
2 tsp double-acting baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Add half the date mixture and:
1 cup whole-grain flour (or whole wheat)
2 cups bran
1 tsp vanilla
Add the remaining date mixture and:
1 cup or less chopped nutmeats (I used chopped pecans and came to find this was close enough)
Place the dough in lightly greased loaf pans. Bake for about 1 hour.