Tahini Date Nut Bread (Paleo)

To me, date nut bread is synonymous with comfortable, lazy morning conversations over coffee with my mom in her kitchen. She has been making date nut bread forever, and I swear that every time she makes it, it turns out better than the last. My little sister and I have been known to take out a whole loaf in one day. I’m not kidding.

I have been toying with the idea of recreating this bread without the refined sugar, Crisco, and gluten, but was afraid that the result wouldn’t even compare to the special treat I associate with so many happy memories. Maybe it was luck, magic, or my mom was sending good vibes from Wisconsin today… whatever it was, my Paleo take on date nut bread turned out perfectly on the first try.

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Dates are a super food because they’re high in fiber and antioxidants, you can wrap them in bacon and the result is amazing (duh), and they lend natural sweetness to just about anything. Soaking them before incorporating them into this bread batter helps ensure that they’re nice and plump, keeping this bread heavenly soft and moist.

You can use almonds or walnuts in this recipe, but pecans are my favorite because that’s how Mom makes it. I always keep a bag of pecans tightly sealed in the fridge so I have them on hand for oatmeal, crusting chicken or fish, and most importantly, date nut bread.

Recipe notes:

Although it’s not a common ingredient and can be kind of hard to find, tapioca flour is important in this recipe, because it gives gluten-free bread its crisp crust and chewy texture. You can try substituting it for more almond flour, but I highly recommend making as written below.

Tahini is paste made from sesame seeds and can be found at most grocery stores. I get it from Trader Joe’s and use it on salads, in dips, and mixed in smoothies. It keeps the bread soft and moist, and balances out the sweetness of the dates in this bread just perfectly. Don’t leave it out!

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This is definitely the kind of bread that tastes better after sitting in the fridge for a day, if it makes it that long.

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Tahini Date Nut Bread

Makes 1 loaf

10 pitted dates, roughly chopped

1 C boiling water

2 eggs

1/3 C tahini

2/3 C almond milk

1/3 C + 1 T coconut sugar, divided

1 t pure vanilla extract

1 t baking soda

1 1/2 C almond flour

1/4 C tapioca flour

1 t ground cinnamon

1/4 t ground nutmeg

1/2 C chopped nuts (I used pecans, but almonds or walnuts also work)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350° and position rack in middle of oven. Line a lightly greased standard sized loaf pan with parchment paper. Add dates to small bowl and cover with boiling water and set aside to soak for 5-10 minutes.

In large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, tahini, almond milk, 1/3 C coconut sugar, and vanilla extract together until combined. Drain water from dates and add dates to egg mixture. Add dry ingredients and nuts, and fold with spatula until combined, making sure to not over-mix.

Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle top with cinnamon and remaining tablespoon of coconut sugar, swirling with tip of a butter knife. Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, until toothpick inserted in middle comes out mostly clean (a few crumbs are ok, this is a moist bread).

Store in fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!

Tip** If your bread looks like it’s getting too brown on top, reduce oven temperature to 325° after first 20 minutes of baking.

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