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Date-nut bread

(Sheryl Julian/Globe Staff)
September 21, 2011

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Makes 1 loaf

This moist caramel-y date-nut bread has two secret ingredients: hot black coffee and a spoonful of marmalade. The way my Aunt Rose Burnofsky made it, a teaspoon of baking soda was mixed with the hot coffee (“instant Nescafe,’’ she insisted), which made it foam up like a high school science experiment. When it bakes, the coffee and dates send out the most tempting coffee-caramel aroma. My aunt also added a “healthy spoonful’’ of marmalade (“never grape’’). She served the bread, which is not terribly sweet, but quite flavorful, with a thick swirl of cream cheese.

Butter (for the pan)
3/4 cup strong hot, black coffee
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pitted dates, coarsely snipped with a scissor
4 tablespoons butter, cut up
1 tablespoon marmalade (any flavor)
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
Pinch of salt
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Butter an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom and sides with parchment paper cut to fit it. Butter the paper.

2. In a bowl, combine the coffee and baking soda. Stir well. Add the dates, butter, and marmalade. Stir to melt the butter.

3. In an electric mixer, beat together the eggs and sugar for 4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand.

4. Add the date mixture and stir well. Stir in the flour and salt. Fold in the walnuts.

5. Transfer the mixture to the pan and smooth the top. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the bread is firm and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

Debra Samuels.

Adapted from Rose Burnofsky.