These Quick Breads are two of the easiest you’ll ever make. It takes longer to gather the ingredients than make these different, really flavorful breads. A whisk, a few measuring utensils, a bowl, a spatula and some cans or 9x5” pans and you’re ready to go.
I like Quick Breads for their simplicity and ease of preparation. During the summer, fresh fruit can be pureed and used to flavor the breads as in this Strawberry Bread. While I don't often use food coloring, it is important in this bread or the color doesn't reflect the vibrant taste of the strawberries. Be sure to use the ripest strawberries you can find for the best taste.
Remember the cans I asked you to save a while back? Well here’s the Date Nut Bread that goes in them. I used walnuts because they are used in the middle east as are dates but the nut can be changed if desired. The Medjool dates work best here. If you get them with pits, they are very easy to remove. To add a depth of flavor three kinds of flour are used.
While normally steamed, I just baked mine without water. While there is a very slight difference in color, I found none in size, moisture or taste. I also found it much easier to bake them than manage all the hot water for steaming.
The bread on the left was steamed, the bread on the right was baked.
I used Grandma’s Molasses because during the process of making it sulphur isn’t used as it can be with other brands. If using another brand, either dark or light can be used. The molasses is necessary for the flavor.
Either one of these Quick Breads would make a welcome gift to say I’m thinking of you.
DATE NUT BREAD QUICK BREADS
1 cup all purpose flour (140 grams or 5 ounces)
1 cup whole wheat flour (140 grams or 5 ounces)
1 cup cornmeal (165 grams or about 5 ¾ ounces)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
¾ cup molasses
½ cup pitted dates* (95 grams or 3 ⅓ ounces with pits)
½ cup walnuts** (60 grams or 2 ounces)
*If dates have pits just slit them down the middle vertically, open them up and remove the seed. Cut each half in half and set aside.
**Walnut halves or large pieces are best here.
Preheat the oven to 325° if using. In any case, line the bottom of the cans with parchment paper rounds you have cut out of parchment.
Spray the paper and inside of the cans well. Set aside. If using a 9x5” loaf pan, line the bottom with parchment and spray the sides and paper very well.
Combine the flours, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a processor. Pulse several times to mix.
Add the buttermilk, molasses. processing to mix. Place the nuts and dates over the batter in a circle. Pulse to cut the dates and walnuts into the batter. Do not over process or the dates and nuts will be cut too small.
Finishing the Date Nut Bread
Divide the batter between the prepared cans (about 370 grams or 13 ounces) each. It will fill about ⅔ of the can. Tear 4 pieces of foil that will fit over the top and down the sides of the can. Spray the dull side and place over the top of the can, pressing the foil against the outside of the can.
If using the loaf pan, do the same as above.
Place the cans in a 9x13” pan. Bake for 45-60 minutes. The bread will rise above the top of the can. A cake tester should come out clean when it is done.
If steaming these Quick Breads, place them on a rack in a pot large enough to hold them with several inches of head room. Place really hot water in the pot with the rack. Lower the Date Nut Breads in, place the top on the pot and steam (do not boil, just simmer to make steam) for about 60 to 75 minutes) or until a tester comes out clean.
Cool for 20 to 15 minutes. Go around the inside edge of the cans or loaf pan with a metal spatula and turn the Date Nut Bread out of the cans or loaf pan. Turn right side up and cool completely.
I love the serve mine with bleu cheese and pear slices for a special treat. If not using a creamy bleu cheese, mix it with a bit of butter to make it spreadable. Butter or cream cheese are also great choices.
Well wrapped, these will keep for days at room temperature. They also freeze well.
STRAWBERRY QUICK BREAD
1 cup sugar (200 grams or 7 ounces)
½ cup oil
1 egg yolk
1 cup strawberry puree*
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ cups flour (210 grams or 7 ⅓ ounces)
¼ red food coloring, optional
*Place about 8 ounces of strawberries in a blender or food processor and blend or process until pureed.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9x5” loaf pan with parchment. Spray the pan and the parchment.
Whisk the sugar and oil until combined. Add egg and yolk, whisking to combine.
Add the strawberry puree.
Whisk the salt, baking soda, baking powder, and flour together. Add to the above whisking well. Last add the red food coloring to perk up the color.
Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
Cool 15 minutes and turn out of the pan to cool on racks. After the loaf is completely cooled it may be frozen.
This bread keeps at room temperature for days. It can also be frozen.
These are two of my favorite Quick Breads. I hope they will become yours also.
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