banana-date bread

Before this year, I have had relatively few experiences with food so delicious that my vision blurs and I simply bliss out for a few minutes, heedless of what others at the table might be saying.  This year, I already feel I’ve had more than my share, what with beef wellington at a local French restaurant so good I think I actually teared up; guacamole with mango, papaya, and pomegranate seeds at a Mexican-style grill in Baltimore; and a pork belly bun at another local, farm-to-table restaurant.  These are the experiences I live for, that make me wonder endlessly why I didn’t pursue food writing as a profession (reason: I don’t like exercising enough to eat that many calories).

Before anyone gets too excited, this bread does not fall into the category of one of “those” experiences.  But, Medjool dates, for me, do.  I don’t recall ever really having a date as a kid, with the exception of one or two of those dry, cubed things you found in dried-fruit mixes.  When I bit into a Medjool date around this time last year, I was bowled over by the intensely sweet, brown-sugary, caramel-like flavors.  Fast-forward to this year, and I purchased a type of date that was a bit cheaper than the Medjools, which can be quite pricey.  Turns out those other dates are nothing like the ethereal experience of a Medjool, but not wanting to waste food, I wanted to find a way to use up the less-delicious dates in a way that might make them more worthwhile to me.

I wasn’t too sure about this bread from the batter, which tasted a bit, well, bready, to me.  But, the end product was very tasty – good, slightly chewy texture.  Obviously, I recommend it.

Banana-Date Bread (makes 1 loaf)

When I was making this bread, I accidentally left the batter on the counter while I set the oven timer.  So, I don’t know that letting it sit for an extra half hour did any good, but feel free to try it!

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. dates
  • 1 c. boiling water
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 c. whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Pour boiling water over dates and let sit about half an hour, or until water has cooled to room temperature.  Pulse mixture in a food processor briefly until dates have been chopped up but not completely smooth.
  3. Add sugar and olive oil to date mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.  Add eggs and beat in one at a time.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  Add dry ingredients alternately with mashed banana.
  5. Bake 35-40 minutes.  Watch for over-browning and place a sheet of foil over the top if need be to bake fully without burning.
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