Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fruit Bread Frenzy

Janet here: I remember very little of my father's grandmother, Nana, who died when I was in elementary school except this: she made outstanding date bread that I loved to eat smothered in cream cheese. Her recipe died with her and I've been on the lookout ever since for that exact date bread. This one is one I've come up with that is pretty darn close. Do you have a favorite date bread recipe? Share it up! In the meantime, find some cream cheese after you make this version.

Date Nut Bread

8 ounces chopped dates
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cups chopped nuts--I used pecans and walnuts this time

Combine all the dry ingredients together. Then add the egg, sugar, butter, vanilla and dates. Stir. Add nuts.
Pour into baking pan. Bake at 350 for one hour.

Delicious with cream cheese....

Rachel here: Banana bread, I think, is what I make best. It's certainly the only thing of any complexity that I have made over and over again without a single mishap and, if I do say so myself, the recipe I use is just perfection (it's from "The Best Recipe" by Cook's Illustrated and after I made it for the first time I wrote "perfect" next to the recipe, so...). I am so pleased with this banana bread, in fact, that I have overnighted it across the country to two of my nearest and dearest friends, Jessica (my bff since high school) and G (my brother who is closest to me in age). I'm pretty sure that Jessica and G will agree: this banana bread has straight-up healing powers, be it a broken heart or a head wound (I just realized that this could serve as incentive for people I know to feign ailments in the name of getting their own fresh-from-the-oven loaf from California...uh-oh). Anyway, I love making it and I've loved sending it to people I love when they're down for the count (I should confess that I love my ma's date bread, too...a certain somebody I co-habitate with doesn't "do" dates, though, so I haven't made it in years). Oh, and I love making it for myself, as well, including the challenge of trying not to consume the entire loaf before the sun has set. While it's no aphrodisiac, clearly for me banana bread is a food of you have one?

2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 tspn. baking soda
1/2 tspn. salt
1 1/4 c. toasted walnuts, chopped coarse (I use closer to 1 1/2 c. because I love nuts)
3 very ripe, speckled bananas, mashed well (approximately 1 1/2 c.)
1/4 c. plain yogurt
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
6 T. butter, melted and cooled
1 tspn. vanilla extract

With rack on lower-middle position, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. If you're using a non-stick loaf pan, grease and flour the bottom and side. If you're using a regular loaf pan, grease and flour only the bottom. Combine dry ingredients (flour through walnuts) in a large bowl, whisk, and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients (bananas through vanilla) using a wooden spoon or spatula. Fold the wet ingredients into the dries using a rubber spatula until just combined. Batter should be thick and very lumpy. Pour batter into loaf pan and place pan in oven. Cook until a toothpick comes out of the center clean, approximately 55 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to finish cooling on a wire rack. Enjoy!


  1. biased or not, the banana bread is miraculous. rachel, you can overnight it whenever you want (wink wink, nudge nudge). <3

  2. so, i missed my best friend, and decided to make banana bread in order to feel like she (rachel) was here in nyc with me. though my bread doesn't look as BEAUTIFUL as yours, it certainly tastes delicious. this truly is the GREATEST banana bread recipe. the only thing that makes it taste better is it coming out of rachel's kitchen!