Although no one knows the true history of the bread itself, many families will often have their own Date Nut Bread recipe passed down from generation to generation. Dates are believed to have originated in Iraq thousands of years ago. As early as 4000 BC, these fruits from the palm family have been cultivated from Mesopotamia to prehistoric Egypt. Today, many of the US dates are grown in California where they were introduced by the Spanish in 1765.
Many would be surprised to know that dates grow on palm trees in big clusters underneath the palm’s fronds. These fruits are very universal and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. They are an excellent source of potassium (more than bananas and raisins) and are high in magnesium, phosphorus and calcium – but stay weary of dates’ sugar content!
The other featured ingredient in this bread recipe is walnuts. This tree nut is full of polyunsaturated fats, protein, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a component that has been linked to cardiovascular health benefits. Walnuts are relatively mild in flavor but their skin contains tannin components which can bring a bitter flavor.
Because dates and walnuts have such wonderful health benefits, they make for a perfect duo in a healthy bread recipe. The Date Nut Bread recipe I’ve chosen to share with you comes from a blogger who has made several substitutions to make this a heart healthy option. This recipe uses whole wheat pastry flour, is lower in sugar, and incorporates flaxseed flour. Try it out and enjoy!
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup boiling water
3 tablespoons organic canola oil
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup oat flour (or old-fashioned oats, ground in a food processor)
2 tablespoons ground flax
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine the dates and boiling water in a small bowl and let stand for 15 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk together the egg, oil, sugar and vanilla.
- Combine the flours, flax, baking powder, soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir in the dates with their liquid, along with the egg mixture and stir just to combine. Fold in the walnuts.
- Pour into a lightly oiled 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool thoroughly before slicing.