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Date And Nut Cakes

2 cups chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup boiling water
2 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 cups walnut halves

In a bowl, combine the dates and boiling water. Set the bowl aside for 30 minutes or until the liquid is cool.

Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand 4 6-by-3-by-2-inch loaf pans. Lightly grease them, then dust them with flour, tapping out the excess.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs, granulated and brown sugars, oil, and vanilla for 2 minutes. Beat in the dates with their liquid.

With the mixer set on its lowest speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Remove the bowl from the stand and, using a rubber spatula, fold in the nuts. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and transfer to the hot oven.

Bake the cakes for 20 minutes, turn the oven temperature down to 325 degrees, and continue baking for 20 minutes or until the cakes are nicely browned and a skewer inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool in the pans. Then turn them out onto a wire rack, set them right side up, and let them cool completely.

Wrap the cakes individually.

Makes 4 Small Cakes

By Sheryl Julian and Julie Rosenfeld

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