Friday, May 29, 2009

Fridays and Fruitcake

Whew. It's the end of the week! Even though most of the lucky readers across the border had a short one, it still feels nice for it to be Friday, doesn't it? For us, today was anything but a nice, relaxing end to the week - my sister had her prom to prepare for! All I can say is that it can't be true! My little sister simply cannot be growing up this fast - I still have photos of the two of us (at 3 and 6, respectively) all dressed up in our Hallowe'en garb before putting on winter coats (it was snowing, after all!) and trolling our street for candy! Now she's a big girl of 18, fancied up to the nines in the only dress I've seen her in since my mom's wedding (and complaining the whole way). It's a bittersweet experience, knowing that soon she'll be graduating and moving off to university, getting to do the whole postsecondary thing while I'm still here at community college! My comfort is that I'll still be graduating from before she does, since my program is a paltry 2 years long!

Being home does have a lot of upsides to it, though. For one, I have a full sized kitchen at my disposal most of the time, and enough cupboard space to store all the random ingredients I come across! I also get free-range access to the leftover pieces of fruit and bags of nuts my family decides are "too leftover" for their tastes. Whether it's overripe bananas, slightly bruised apples, or in the case of the nuts, part of a handful or so, all the food is still perfectly good, and perfect for baking! Fruit breads and muffins are prime for throwing the bits into... how else would we get deliciously moist banana bread or applesauce muffins? I know many a zucchini loaf that wouldn't have been made if the star ingredient was tossed rather than shredded too! These days, with the economy in the hole such as it is, it's more than worth it to turn leftover ends of things into fresh, delicious food!

I came across this recipe (well, a version of it) at the blog
Kate in the Kitchen around the same time I found yesterday's inspiration. Kate had found the recipe on AllRecipes - though when I looked for it later I couldn't find it for the life of me - and her pictures of the finished loaf sucked me right in. I knew I had to make that bread. A peek into the baking pantry determined that the bread could be made, but a modified version of it. A banana again butted out the egg, and canola oil stepped in for Ms. Butter. Spelt flour, spices and two different nuts instead of one snuck their way into the mix too. The dates stayed put - those weren't going anywhere anytime soon! I've also listed the paltry amount of sugar as optional - I didn't find I needed it in the end because my dates were sweet enough on their own, but if you have a sweet tooth (or sour dates!) you may want to add it. The original recipe called for 1/4 cup, though!

I later decided making all the changes was a good move - especially since within 3 days of being sent into my mom's office I had orders for two more!

How fitting that this bread should come around right at the time when Fun and Food is hosting Sugar High Fridays - an event originally created by fellow Canadian Jennifer over at Domestic Goddess. I'm sending it in to join the party... you can come too if you like, the deadline is June 25!
Most & Fruity Nut Bread
Serves 12
13 1/2 oz pitted, chopped dates
1 2/3 cups boiling water
1 medium banana, mashed
2 tbsp low-fat milk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp packed brown sugar (optional)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup spelt (or whole wheat) flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup toasted, slivered almonds
1/4 cup toasted whole hazelnuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the dates and water. Let stand 15-20 minutes.
  3. Mix in the banana, milk, oil, vanilla and sugar (if using) until well blended (I found it best to use a potato masher).
  4. Combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, spice and salt.
  5. Stir into the wet mixture until just blended, then mix in the nuts.
  6. Pour into the prepared pan, filling no more than 2/3 full (I got 4 medium muffins as well as the loaf).
  7. Bake 50 minutes (20 minutes for muffins), or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool in pan(s) 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack and cooling completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 253.1
Total Fat: 8.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.1 mg
Sodium: 3.3 mg
Total Carbs: 45.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.7 g
Protein: 3.9 g


  1. Mmm that loaf looks incredible!

    I'm so hopeless at finishing off those endy bits of things :( I wish I was creative enough to come up with amazing things with them, but I never am.

  2. It sounds really yummy! I don't know that I'd have thought of putting bananas into a yeast bread, but ... well, I don't know why. Good idea!


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