Holiday Date Nut Bread (Less Sweet)
Date nut bread is a traditional holiday treat and it's surprisingly healthy if made with high-quality ingredients. Quick breads made with dried fruits and nuts can be a healthier alternative compared to cakes and cookies. For those suffering with jaw pain and TMJ disorders, quick breads fit nicely into a TMJ-friendly soft diet.
Dates are naturally very sweet and so you don't need to add a lot of sweeteners. Softening the dates in water before baking make them soft and juicy.
When pecans are finely chopped, they add a crunchy texture and buttery flavor. A serving of pecans – about 19 halves – is a good source of fiber, thiamin, and zinc, and an excellent source of copper and manganese – a mineral that’s essential for metabolism and bone health. They have 20 grams of fat and 200 calories per serving, so be mindful of amounts consumed. They contain phytonutrients.However, if nuts are an issue, leave them out of the recipe.
Coconut sugar, more accurately coconut palm sugar, has the same number of calories and carbohydrates as regular cane sugar (about 15 calories and four grams of carbohydrate per teaspoon). It comes from the sap of the coconut palm tree, not from the coconuts. Coconut sugar looks like brown sugar and can be substituted for cane sugar in most recipes. Please note that palm sugar is not the same as coconut palm sugar. Coconut sugar contains the soluble fiber inulin, which is linked to a lower risk of blood sugar spikes.
This recipe is high in both soluble and insoluble fibers, which come from the dates, pecans, and the use of whole wheat flour. A diet high in fiber is beneficial for weight control, and helps prevent constipation.
If you'd like to make this quick bread recipe gluten-free, replace both the all-purpose and whole wheat flours with a gluten-free all-purpose flour. Keep in mind that just because a product is gluten-free, it does NOT mean it's healthier for you. In fact, most gluten-free products are highly processed compared to those made with wheat.
This is an easy and simple recipe to follow and makes for a delicious and nutritious holiday food gift. For those suffering with TMJ and jaw pain, a quick bread like this is easy to chew because of its soft texture. Wrap with parchment or plastic wrap and share with friends and family.
Ingredients (choose organic ingredients when available):
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for pan
- 1 1/2 cups hot water
- 1 cup pitted dates, chopped
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
- 1/2 cup packed coconut sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with olive oil.
- In a medium bowl, pour hot water over dates and let stand until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in olive oil, egg, and vanilla.
- In another bowl, stir together flours, baking soda, salt, pecans, and coconut sugar.
- Fold egg mixture into flour mixture until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a tester inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, about 65 minutes.
- Let cool in pan on a wire rack, about 20 minutes, then turn out bread to let cool completely.
- Serves 8.
Wrap in parchment if giving as a gift.
Slice and spread with Greek yogurt or low-fat cream cheese and serve.