This fragrant, not overly sweet bread, is a great way to start your day. It contains a fairly small amount of oil, fresh and dried fruits, fiber from unblanched almonds and whole wheat flour, and to top it all, even the coffee and milk are already in!
Obviously, this tasty bread can be served anytime and not just for breakfast, so it’s a good idea to bake two loaves. Slice and separate the slices with wax paper, and freeze in an airtight container, for up to 2 months. Serve it as is, or lightly toasted, with cream cheese, butter or almond butter on top.
A few notes:
* Espresso powder is an intense, highly concentrated granulated coffee. If you can’t find it, double the amount with regular granulated coffee.
* Medjool dates are fairly large, plump and soft dates. They are sweeter than most dates and are the best for baking. For best results, don’t substitute them with any other type of dates.
* I have used lightly salted roasted almonds, as they produce better flavor and texture when baked, and the salt adds a nice balance to the sweetness of the dates. If you prefer to use natural almonds, add ½ tsp of salt to the batter.
* Anise and cardamom complement beautifully the coffee flavor. However, if you don’t like their flavor, you can substitute with same amount of cinnamon.
Makes: 2 X 10” (25cm) loaf pan (about 24 slices)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 40-45 minutes
5 large Medjool dates
2 Tbs whole wheat flour
1 tsp espresso powder
1 Tbs boiling water
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup mashed very ripe banana (from 2 medium)
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup oil
2 L eggs
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1 Tbs baking powder
½ tsp salt (if not using salted almonds)
1 tsp anise seeds
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp vanilla
¾ cup coarsely ground roasted unblanched lightly salted almonds
½ cup raw slivered almonds
1. Cut the dates into medium size cubes, and mix with 2 Tbs whole wheat flour, so that they will not stick together. Set aside. Dissolve the espresso powder in the boiling water. Add the milk and mix well. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Brush the pans with oil and dust with a small amount of flour.
3. In a large bowl, combine the mashed banana, applesauce, oil, eggs and brown sugar. Mix well.
4. Add the coffee-milk mix and mix again. Add the two types of flour, baking powder, salt (if not using salted almonds), anise seeds and cardamom. Mix and add the ground almonds and the dates with the flour. Mix with a spatula and divide the batter between the two pans. Scatter the slivered almonds on top.
5. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean and the slivered almonds are golden-brown.
6. Let stand in the pan for 2-3 minutes. Release from the pan and let cool on a rack before slicing.