Saturday, September 28, 2013

Autumn Date and Hazelnut Bread

The hazelnut harvest is underway here in Oregon. Every fall, stores and farm stands greet us with bins that are brimming with this meaty treasure. They are an important part of the local economy and I use them whenever I can. A local grower actually sells his hazelnuts chopped, roasted and ready for the freezer. It gets even better. If you have the foresight to ask, he also mill the nuts to a fine powder that's perfect for flourless baking. The downside to all this is there is no excuse for not baking cakes and breads that require hazelnuts. I love this particular quick bread. The recipe was developed by Susan Loomis for the French Farmhouse Cookbook and it is the only version of date nut bread that I still make today. It's wonderful for church gatherings or coffees where you have to provide something a little sweet. The bread is extremely easy to make , but if you want the best of flavors let it age for at least a day before slicing. I actually wait 2 days before cutting mine. The crust is what keeps me coming back to this recipe. It is soft and buttery and the loaf has a remarkable aroma that I find irresistable. If you haven't made this bread I hope you'll give it a try. There will be no regrets. Here's the recipe.

Autumn Date and Hazelnut Bread...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, courtesy of Susan Loomis


1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

11-1/2 (eleven and one-half) tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla or hazelnut extract

1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and coarsely chopped

1 cup dates, pitted and coarsely chopped


1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. Set aside.

2) Sift flour, baking powder and salt together on a piece of waxed paper.

3) In bowl of an electric mixer, blend butter and sugar until mixture is light and pale yellow. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla or hazelnut extract. Turn mixer to low speed and add the flour, mixing just until combined. Add hazelnuts and dates and mix to distribute through batter.

4) Scrape batter into prepared pan, rapping it sharply on a hard surface to release any air bubbles in batter. Bake in center of oven until the loaf has puffed and a knife inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

5) Remove pan from oven and immediately remove it from pan. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 1 loaf - 8 servings.

You might also enjoy these recipes:

Mango Nut Bread - Chef in You

Fruit and Nut Loaf - Anja's Food 4 Thought

Chocolate and Hazelnut Bread - Chef in You

Cherry and Almond Scones - The English Kitchen

Medjool Date and Walnut Bread - Closet Cooking

Date Nut Spice Bread - Brown Eyed Baker

Three Savory Quick Breads - One Perfect Bite

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