Don’t get me wrong, I neither promote nor follow a fat-free diet. Olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, cheese, peanut butter, chocolate, salmon, and 2% greek yogurt are all staples in my eating regime. That being said, in an attempt to eat a bit lighter during the interim between holidays, I am being extra cautious of gobbling down rich baked goods.
I will continue to enjoy a spoonful of peanut butter melting into my morning oatmeal, pecans sprinkled over oil & vinegar-dressed salads, 2% yogurt topped with granola, and the occasional square of dark chocolate, but I’m sticking to my plan of lightening homemade baked goods when possible.
|Name||Fat-Free, Naturally Sweetened Date Bread|
|Prep Time||20 minutes|
|Cooking Time||40-45 minutes|
|Total Time||Approximately 1 hour|
|Yield||1 standard-sized loaf|
I made many alterations to Ina’s original recipe (linked below). I subbed in 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour, completely eliminated the refined sugar, swapped mashed banana for the butter, and opted for the addition of pumpkin pie spice. The lack of nuts in my version was simply due to a pantry bereft of pecans, of which I have been eating in abundance (note to self: re-stock pecan stash ASAP!).
The generous amount of chopped dates lent the perfect amount of natural sweetness, and the mashed banana kept the bread tender and moist. The lovely flavor of citrus permeates the bread beautifully, thanks to the triple threat of orange liqueur, orange zest, and orange juice. I’m sure the original recipe yields a sweet and buttery dessert bread, but my version is better suited for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack. The bread is best when served warm straight out of the oven, (what baked good isn’t?), but a quick re-heat in the toaster oven does the trick for leftover slices.
- 2 cups coarsely chopped pitted medjool dates
- 1/3 cup orange liqueur
- 1/4 cup mashed overripe banana
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp grated orange zest
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (3-4 oranges)
- canola oil cooking spray
Estimated Nutrition Per Serving
Calories: 190 kcal
Total Fat: 0g
Saturated Fat: 0g
Total Carbohydrates: 46g
Dietary Fiber: 2g
Prepare the Dates
Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C) and greasing a standard-sized loaf pan. Then, in a medium-sized bowl, combine the chopped dates and baking soda. Pour the boiling water over them, ensuring they’re well-covered. Let this mixture sit for about 15-20 minutes. The baking soda helps soften the dates.
Mix Dry Ingredients
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. This step ensures even distribution of leavening agents and salt.
Blend Wet Ingredients
In another bowl, mix together the applesauce, honey (or maple syrup), and vanilla extract. This combination will serve as a natural sweetener and moistener for the bread.
Once the dates have softened, use a blender or food processor to puree them into a smooth paste. Add the date paste to the wet ingredients and stir until well combined.
Mix Wet and Dry Ingredients
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, stirring until just combined. Be careful not to overmix; a few lumps are okay. If you’re including chopped nuts, fold them in at this stage.
Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan and spread it evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool and Serve
Once baked, allow the date bread to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then, transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely. Slicing the bread is easier when it’s completely cooled.