One thing I don’t really bake often is quickbread. I generally wait until I have some bananas or zucchini or something to use up before I start pouring things into loaf pans. And then – even if the results are REALLY good – I don’t bother sharing because they don’t photograph that well and I, like many other habitual bakers, am constantly tweaking the recipe every time I make them.
However, I was recently contacted by Lyns of Sweet Cuppin Cakes Bakery & Cupcakery Supplies. She had a new product coming into stock soon and needed someone to test it out. Who says no to experimenting with free baking supplies? Not me!
The product in question was disposable paper loaf pans. I wasn’t really sure what to make to test them out, but I was inspired when I came across some fat, juicy dates in a store when I was casually wandering around the East Village a couple weekends ago. Ooh, dates! What goes well with dates? Hmmm…cinnamon, chocolate…walnuts…cranberries?
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to pick up the liners at the post office for almost another week, by which time I had snacked all the dates away. No big deal – the bodega downstairs sells dates, too!…And for a dollar less. Great. (Don’t go to Gourmet Garage, people. Good deals are not to be had there.)
I kind of threw a recipe together, based on a random date bread recipe I found and tweaked. I added the cranberries just because I could, and decided I’d add a chocolate swirl and some cacao nibs on top, because I add cacao nibs on top of everything I possibly can.
And what’s the verdict on the loaf pans? Well, they’re really handy. Especially at this time of year – not everyone adheres to the old neighborly practice of returning someone’s plate or pan filled with your own homemade goodies, and it can be a pain to unmold freshly-baked loaves for wrapping to give to those who may not return your beloved bakeware. Plus, you can simply pull apart the glued folds of the pan to serve the bread – no transferring to a board or platter necessary (though you could just unfold it on top of a platter if you’re dead-set on being festive, and then you wouldn’t have to wash the platter after).
Besides the handiness, the print is so cute that all you’d have to do to gift a loaf is wrap it in plastic and affix a bow to the top! Instant pretty gift!
Keep in mind that they are smaller than the standard loaf pan, so one normal quickbread recipe will fill two pans.
Cinnamon Chocolate-Swirl Date Bread
- 1 cup boiling water
- 6 oz. chopped dried dates
- 2 oz. dried cranberries
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 1/4 cups AP flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp fine salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 oz. chopped unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
- Cacao nibs, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 325. Place the dates and cranberries in a heatproof bowl and pour in the boiling water. Add the butter and stir to combine, then set aside. Beat the sugars and egg until light. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Remove 1 Tbsp and toss with the walnuts. Alternately add the water/fruit mixture and the flour mixture to the egg and sugar mixture until fully combined. Remove 1/2 cup of the batter and combine with the melted chocolate. Pour the batter into loaf pan(s) and swirl in the chocolate batter, then sprinkle with cacao nibs. Bake 45-55 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean. Allow to cool before slicing.
I have one loaf pan left to use but I wish I also had more of this bread. It was excellent (too excellent, in fact – I forced myself to bring one loaf in to class to share, where it was appreciated by many). I couldn’t really locate the dates in it – they just kind of bake into gooey smears of sweetness – but the tart, plump little cranberries and crunchy bits of walnut were great contrasts to the sweet, bready goodness that made up the loaves.
I’m thinking a little pumpkin gingerbread action to use up the final loaf pan, maybe baking the remainder in muffin liners. I can bring the bread with me for Thanksgiving and not have to worry about eating ALL of it myself.