I really want to tell you about the wonderful baking I've been doing, so you can try some of the yummy cookies I've made. But first things first. I'll take you back to Thanksgiving, when I was commissioned by family to make date nut bread.
There's lots of recipes for date nut bread. I decided that I wanted hints of citrus in mine, so I went with Ina Garten's Date Nut Spice Bread.
I made a few adjustments as I went along. I used orange juice instead of orange liqueur. I used a regular egg, rather than extra large. My butter was in a 1-pound block, so I estimated how much I needed to cut off to equal ⅛ of a pound. I had no orange zest, but I did have dried orange peel (which said to use equal amounts). I omitted cloves, and used walnuts instead of pecans.
I diced my dates and soaked them in some orange juice. I put the rest of the batter as the recipe said. I mixed together the butter and brown sugar in a stand mixer, then added the egg, vanilla, and orange peel. I alternated adding the dry ingredients and the orange juice, and then stirred the dates, liquid, and nuts in with the mixer.
I scraped the batter into a greased and floured loaf pan. I baked it at 350F for a full 60 minutes, until a toothpick came out clean. I skipped making a cream cheese spread or frosting.
The bread browned up nicely. The dates made the bread very moist, and the orange complemented the date flavor, just as I hoped it would. The walnuts melded with the other flavors of the bread well enough but pecans, which the recipe called for, would have been great in it. The cinnamon and nutmeg were great spices for this, and I'm glad I omitted the cloves because I think it would have made the spices too heavy and too spicy. I think this would have been an ideal bread to slip some whole wheat flour into; whole wheat would blend in with the hearty flavor and dense texture, while the bright flavor of orange would keep the bread from seeming heavy. Dates aren't my favorite, but this was a good bread. It was perfect for breakfast, and I would consider making it again.