Carob Date and Nut Bread is an excellent accompaniment for coffee or afternoon tea that’s bursting with luscious date and walnut flavors. The profile is so familiar with the same date and nut loaf that we all grew up with but this time, with carob powder as sweetener. It’s dark, moist, rich and delicious. Typically enjoyed as breakfast or brunch staple, it’s normally served thinly sliced or cut in small triangles. Some slather it with cream cheese but most prefer to savor it plain.
Traditionally, date and nut bread is made with walnuts but pecans are a welcome nut alternative as well. For our take on this traditional Scottish tea bread, we figured that introducing a hint of espresso flavor would be fabulous. Moreover, it would also make sense if we use carob powder as natural sweetener. This carob date and nut bread recipe can be prepared using a full loaf pan but we decided to go with mini loaves. The small size makes them ready for gifting!
Carob Date and Nut Bread Recipe
Recipes for this quick bread normally follow a basic pattern and it can be forgiving. This is our first time to bake a date and nut bread so we used all-purpose flour. However, feel free to use your gluten-free flour if you suffer from wheat and gluten intolerances. The dates need to be softened first by soaking them in liquid and in this case, in espresso.
Refined Sugar-Free Date and Nut Bread
There is no refined sugar in this recipe. With dates, raisins, maple syrup and carob powder, any additional sweetening agent won’t be necessary. With every bite, you will taste the party of flavors. Coffee-infused dates, vanilla, the natural sweetness of fruits used, and the amazingly rich profile of Australian Carobs.
This bread should remain luscious and moist for two to four days, if you can hide it from others. It is so good that we are not sure if it will last a day in your household!
Carob Date and Nut Recipe
DATE FRUIT AND COFFEE SOAK
- 1 cup dates, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 tbsp instant espresso, heaping
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 pc egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup walnuts, halves or partially broken
- Butter a non-stick loaf pan or set of mini loaf pans and set aside.
- Put the dates and raisins in a small to medium size bowl.
- Add the instant espresso to the boiling water, mix and pour over the dried fruits, mixing to cover, and let sit about 15 minutes while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, carob powder, baking powder, cinnamon and salt, and mix well.
- In a medium bowl, mix the softened butter, beaten egg, maple syrup and vanilla extract together thoroughly.
- After the fruit espresso mixture has rested about 15 minutes, make a well in the dry ingredients.
- Pour the butter, egg, maple syrup, vanilla mix into the well in the dry ingredients.
- Then pour the fruit espresso mixture into the now empty butter bowl to help catch any remaining wet mix, and then into the well with the wet and dry ingredients.
- Mix them all together until combined well, then add the one cup of finely chopped walnuts (not the reserved ones), and mix thoroughly.
- Carefully spoon the batter into the loaf pan or mini loaf pans to about 3/4 full.
- Use the reserved walnut pieces to decorate the tops of the loaves by gently pressing then into the batter a little bit.
- Let the batter rest in the loaf pan approximately 15 minutes while you turn on the oven and let it warm up to 350 degrees F during this rest period.
- Bake approximately 35 minutes in the mini loaf pans or 55 minutes in a full loaf pan or until done using a sharp knife to test it in the usual manner.
- Let them cool on a baking rack for 10 minutes or so, and then gently remove the bread from the pan and let cool completely on the rack.
- After completely cooled to near room temperature, they can be sliced and served. Store in an airtight bag or container at room temperature, or in the refrigerator for overnight or a few days. They can be wrapped and frozen for longer storage.
- Enjoy them plain or with sweet cream butter or a little mascarpone cheese. Takes 1 to 1 1/2 hours depending on baking time for the mini or the regular size loaf pans.