Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Deciphering Dates (the ones you can eat)

 Dates are a yummy way to satisfy your sweet tooth while still gaining important health benefits. Curious how to use dates? So was I. So I did a little research. Dates are a great to mix in with salads or wraps. You can add them to shakes or top a bowl of oatmeal. I liked the idea of tossing them into a trail mix or blending them with a small amount of milk to drizzle over waffles. With March on its way and St. Patrick’s day soon approaching I thought it would be fun to make an Irish Soda Bread with dates instead of the traditionally used currants.  See below for my recipe and more info on Dates!

Season and Storage:
Dates are in season during the winter months. They can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for several months or refrigerated up to a year.

Nutrition Benefits:
Dates are fat free, sodium free, and cholesterol free! They are also a great source of fiber and have potassium and manganese in each serving. Dates have a natural balance of many minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, and potassium. These minerals work together to lower blood pressure.

Irish Soda Bread with Dates
4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
(If you don’t have buttermilk just
 use milk and add a teaspoon of vinegar)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey

Mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and dates until combined. Make sure the dates are coated in the mixture. Cut the butter into small cubes and stir into flour. Stir in milk, egg, and honey. Mix and knead dough until all ingredients are incorporated. Shape dough into a ball and place on a greased cookie sheet. Since this is a quick bread it does not need time to rise!

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a sharp knife to score a cross on top of the dough right before placing it in the oven. Bake for 40-50 minutes. Check with a toothpick or knife that it comes out clean. Allow to cool, slice and serve.



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