There is another thing I find myself craving this time of year; moist and flavorful quick breads. There's pumpkin, zucchini, gingerbread...and then there's date nut. Lovely dates and dried apricots soaked in luscious Grand Marnier and tossed with pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and fresh grated ginger. Oh my!
This orange apricot date nut bread is so scrumptious! I would love to bake up some mini loaves to give as gifts for the holidays.
I spotted these oranges at the store the other day. I have no idea what variety they are. They weren't very pretty on the outside but they were oh-so-pretty on the inside and I've never been able to get so much juice out of an orange in my life. I squeezed nearly 1 cup of juice out of 2 small oranges. Amazing! Sorry, I tend to get excited over the smallest things in this life. :D
I also wanted to share some fun photos from my daughter's last field trip. This place is incredible! It's called Tree 2 Tree Adventure Park and it's about an hour outside of the Portland area in Gaston, Oregon.
It's like an obstacle course up in the trees.
Participants are connected at all times to zip lines for safety as they maneuver their way through the course. There are different courses, each one a little more challenging than the last.
There are long zip lines to glide down as well.
Everyone had such a blast! I have a fear of heights but after experiencing all of the fun from the ground I'm almost ready to join them up in the trees next time...maybe.
Orange Apricot Date Nut Bread
1/2 cup coarsely chopped apricots
1 cup coarsely chopped dates
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp grated orange zest
1/3 cup Grand Marnier
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 cup softened butter
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray oil bottom of one large loaf pan or two regular sized loaf pans. Line with parchment paper. Grease and flour the parchment paper.
In a small bowl, combine the apricots, dates, ginger, orange zest and Grand Marnier. Allow to sit for thirty minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed for about one minute, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the eggs, honey and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and orange juice alternately to the egg mixture and mix just until combined. Fold in the apricot date mixture and the pecans by hand.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan(s). Bake for 50-60 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for about ten minutes and then transfer to a wire rack for cooling.
Note: I happened to have an oversized loaf pan that worked great for this recipe. If you have regular size loaf pans (9x5x2) you will want to use two pans.
Hope you are enjoying your week!