I baked the tea bread last night for today's blog post because I knew I'd be out tonight at the annual Las Tres Amigas get-together (more on that tomorrow). And this is what I found this morning on the kitchen counter before I had a chance to photograph the bread. A little mouse named Lee apparently had a slice before going to bed, and then a second one this morning on his way out the door . . . Well, at least he re-covered it so it wouldn't dry out . . .
The bread was deeee-licious! I have made many versions of Date-Nut Bread over the years, but I had never tried The Silver Palate's version. Now I could kick myself for having had this recipe at my fingertips all this time and never trying it out! The recipe's secret ingredient is rum - 1½ tablespoons of it, just enough to infuse the batter with its flavor. It compliments the dates beautifully! What an unexpected surprise! And, as an additional boon, Lee loved it! I'll definitely be making this one again.
Here's the recipe:
4 tablespoons sweet butter, cut into 6 chunks
1 cup, pitted dates, coarsely chopped
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup boiling water
1 egg, beaten
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup shelled black walnuts, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ tablespoon rum
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 5 x 3 bread pan.
2. Place butter in a large mixing bowl, place dates on top, and pour both sugars over. Pour boiling water over ingredients in the bowl. Let sit for 7 minutes. Stir well.
3. When mixture is cool, add the egg and mix well.
4. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Add to date mixture, beating for 30 seconds. Stir in walnuts, vanilla and rum.
5. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes.
Just be careful of little mice left to wonder around by themselves . . .