This probably should have been a Mother’s Day post, but my head was off on Mother’s Day, drifting to other days and dreaming of date-nut bread sandwiches and comfort.
We went on a lot of outings, my mother and I—to the theater, ballet, opera, museums, and shopping. We dressed up for every excursion, even to shop, choosing stylish dresses, or skirts and blouses, then later, smart pantsuits—and, of course, sturdy walking shoes.
I don’t know how my mother managed it, as she worked full time. But it seemed we were always going somewhere together when I was growing up. And when we did, we had favorite places to lunch or simply recharge.
One of them was Chock Full O’Nuts.
In those years, it seemed as though the restaurants were on every block.
I remember heading indoors out of the cold or heat, lured by the scent of their freshly brewed coffee, and climbing up onto stools to sit at the counter. We’d order drinks, and always date-nut bread and cream cheese sandwiches. They were a blend of sweet and crunchy substances and tangy cream—a perfect comfort food.
A few years ago, I set out to recreate my own version of these treats, adding some personal favorites to the traditional blend of dates and walnuts. The result was both comforting and nourishing, as well as calorie rich and decadent.
Since I’m allergic to cow’s milk, I opted for chèvre instead of cream cheese (you know how much I love goats, right?). But for those who don’t have that restriction, go for the original. There’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned shmear….
1 & 1/2 cups chopped dates
1/2 cup boiling water
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon of honey
3 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter
3 tablespoons molasses
two large or extra large eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 small zucchini, grated
1/3 cup mini dark chocolate chips
1 cup, minus two tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons coconut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350º. Liberally grease an 8″ x 4″ bread pan with butter. Pour boiling water over chopped dates. sugar, and honey, and let stand for 15 minutes. Beat in eggs, molasses, oil, and vanilla, then add nuts and grated zucchini. Sift dry ingredients over the liquid mix, and blend. The batter should be substantial, but not overly thick. If it’s too runny, add flour a tablespoon at a time until it’s right. If it’s too thick, add water or coconut milk until it loosens up.
Bake in prepared pan for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack, then dive in and devour!