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SERVES: makes one 9 x 5-inch loaf
• 1 cup chopped pitted dates
• 1/2 cup boiling water
• 1/2 cup walnut halves and pieces (or 1/3 cup chopped walnuts)
• 1 Tbs butter for toasting walnuts
• 1 stick room unsalted butter, unsalted
• 1/2 cup light brown sugar (firmly packed)
• 2 large eggs
• 2 medium size ripe bananas
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and also butter and lightly flour one 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
2. Add 1/2 cup boiling water to 1 cup of chopped dates in a medium mixing bowl and stir together.
3. Toast 1/2 cup walnuts in 1 Tbs butter in a heavy bottomed pan on the stove top until they're lightly browned, and take them out of the pan to cool.
4. Use a mixer to cream 1 stick of room temperature, unsalted butter with a firmly packed 1/2 cup light brown sugar. Then add 2 large eggs, one at a time, then add 2 medium, ripe bananas and turn the machine off when those are incorporated.
5. Chop the walnuts once they've cooled down and then use a mixing bowl to combine 2 cups all-purpose flour with 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon. Mix that together, and then turn the machine on low and slowly add the flour.
6. Once that is incorporated, slowly add the dates and the chopped walnuts and mix until they're just combined.
7. Transfer that to the prepared pan and place it onto the center rack of the 350 degree oven.
8. That will take just about 1 hour to bake. Use a toothpick to check it for doneness.
9. After 8-10 minutes, carefully turn it out onto a cooling rack and let it cool down completely before slicing.
HINTS: Serve sliced with a little cream cheese if you like.
: Chef Dan Eaton spent his early years on a dairy farm in Vermont where he developed a fondness for foods "straight from the land." Cooking seasonally was more of a necessity then but Dan still finds local ingredients, in season, a driving force behind his menu creations.