May 9, 2011

Whole-grain date walnut bread

An old fashioned recipe for date walnut bread caught my eye recently. It’s the kind of thing your great grandmother would have baked.  If she did, she probably baked it in Campbell’s Soup cans. Yep, that’s the way it used to be done. Why?  I haven’t the foggiest idea – but it made this bread even more intriguing to me. I also liked the fact that you soak the dates and then use the soaking liquid as part of the batter.

Of course, the traditional date walnut bread is made with white flour, butter and white sugar. Today I’ve given it the Cathy treatment:

– I substituted a heart-healthy oil for butter

– I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of refined white flour

– I cut the sugar in half, and used raw sugar which is less refined

– I added oats and flax for even more health benefits

These are the standard heart-healthy changes I make to recipes for baked goods, and it generally works well (although I’ve had my share of failures, believe me!)  Here, it worked brilliantly. The bread has a hearty personality thanks to the whole grains, yet it’s tender and moist. I can’t think of anything better to have with my morning or afternoon tea.

Oh, and if you’re the type to plan ahead, December 22 is National Date Nut Bread Day. Um, why? I guess it’s just another one of those date nut bread mysteries.

Whole Grain Date Walnut Bread

1 cup chopped dates
1 cup boiling water
1 egg
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.

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See more recipes: Baked goods and desserts


  • I love the soaked dates also. This looks really moist and lighter than I would’ve thought with the whole wheat, etc.. Gotta try for sure, thanks for the fun post.

  • I love walnuts and dates together, and this bread look fantastic! Great healthy substitutions :).

  • Love dates and love your substitutions in this! Soup cans you say… those ladies didn’t let anything go to waste back in the day! Can’t wait to try this!

  • […] Date Walnut Bread recipe adapted from here. […]

  • ANOTHER great recipe! Your blog is absolutely fantastic!

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    Aw, thank you, sheelbeel!

  • […] Date Walnut Bread recipe adapted from here. […]

  • […] last but not least, inspired by Cathy at What Would Cathy Eat, this super yummy, dense, chewy and filling High Protein, Whole Grain Date and Walnut […]

  • […] recipe is slightly adapted from here. Mostly because I was looking for something more date-ey and less walnut/sweet. I find that […]

  • Deidre

    Hi Cathy,
    Glad to find another awesome foody website! I laughed out loud as I read your story. As a registered dietitian, I find people like you know a lot more about healthy cooking, and living than some of the professionals out there. I know that doesn’t sound good, but its true!
    Im going to try your date, walnut bread tomorrow. Thanks!!

  • What a data of un-ambiguity and preserveness of valuable familiarity
    about unpredicted emotions.

  • Barb Schaumburg

    Thanks Cathy, this looks great, can’t wait to try it!

  • Donna

    Hi Cathy, tryed your date walnut bread. Loved it! But, I did need to bake it a little longer. For my liquor I used kalua. Added a great touch! Thanks.

  • Lois Phillips

    I have started making this bread regularly. My husband loves it! We eat it in the morning with our smoothies. It’s so moist and rich it could be dessert.

  • Deb Bolton

    Cathy, great date nut bread. Can you provide nutritional information.


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