Today was a walk down memory lane for me. I decided to create a cream cheese and date nut bread sandwich, reminiscent of those I had as a child at Chock full o' Nuts. Neither Monty (producer of Everyday Food Radio) nor Shavon (engineer), had ever had one and I thought it would be fun to introduce them to what I consider a NYC classic. So, I made a date nut bread from scratch, thinly sliced it and slathered it with cream cheese. You know how food memories may not live up to your expectations? Well, this one delivered!
SEE SANDY'S RECIPE AFTER THE JUMP
Sandy's Cream Cheese & Date Nut Bread Sandwich
Serving: This recipe makes one 9 x 5-inch date nut bread loaf. Depending upon how thick or thinly you slice it, you can make quite a few sandwiches. The amount of cream cheese is up to you.
1/3 cup (5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon) butter, plus more for the pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk or half-and-half
1/4 cup water
8 ounces plum soft pitted dates, coarsely chopped
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts cream cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, heat the butter, milk, and water over low until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat, add the dates and let sit 15 minutes.
4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the date mixture, the eggs, orange zest, vanilla, and pecans and gently fold to combine. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs attached, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. If the loaf is overbrowning, tent with foil.
5. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then run a metal spatula around the edge to release the loaf from the pan. Cool completely on the wire rack. Slice and serve with cream cheese.