From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This recipe is an adaption of one that was developed for the Michigan Maple Syrup Association. It is fast and easy to make, but there is, of course, a hitch. The bread should be made the day before you plan to slice and serve it. These flavors need time to meld and ripen and I think the freshly made bread is disappointing. Not so its day old cousin. This loaf is a perfect candidate for a morning coffee or afternoon tea. It travels well and, if properly wrapped, it will stay fresh for several days. I have given the amount of maple syrup used in the recipe as a range for you to use as a guideline. I find 3/4 of a cup of syrup to be too much, but the Silver Fox thinks it is just right. We are, indeed, an odd couple. Let your own taste for sweets be your guide. I also recommend lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Pan release problems have convinced me that the time spent lining them is worth every second it takes. If you enjoy tea breads, I hope you'll give this one a try. The addition of maple syrup makes this old favorite seem new. Here is how the bread is made.
Sugar Bush Maple-Date-Nut Bread...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite adapted from the Michigan Maple Syrup Association
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup boiling water
1 cup chopped pitted dates
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/2 to 3/4 cup maple syrup
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1) Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of an 8 x 4 x 2-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
2) In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Make a well in center of flour mixture. Set aside.
3) In a medium bowl, pour boiling water over dates and butter. Stir until butter melts. Mix maple syrup and egg into date mixture. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold pecans into the batter. Pour batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.
4) Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean (if necessary, cover loosely with foil the last 15 minutes of baking to prevent over browning). Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on rack. Wrap; store overnight before slicing. Yield: 1 loaf (16 slices).
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