Ode to a Date…nostalgic, but not dessert

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Dates….not a huge fan.  In fact, in my opinion, dried fruit is not dessert.  If I am going to have something sweet, it will usually be in the cake family.  And chocolate.  And gooey.  That being said, there are a few things about dates that I think of with fondness.

Date and walnut bread_4I have a memory of delicious date nut bread that was made by Van de Kamp bakery when I was young.  My mom introduced me to this treat, warm and slathered with cream cheese.  Oh my, it was yummy…but not dessert.

ps angels

And, how could I forget Date Shakes from Hadleys near Palm Springs, California.  My dad was a huge California Angels fan and when I was young, we spent many weekends driving out to watch the Angel’s spring training games.  Date shakes were part of the experience…but not dessert.

So, I guess dates hold a certain nostalgia for me, but again…they are not dessert.

By now all of you date lovers out there are probably getting pretty annoyed at me for maligning your precious dates.  I promise I will keep an open mind as I attempt to recreate some of those date memories from my childhood with the next cupcake in my quest…Date nut cupcakes.

After lining the muffin pans, I whisked together the dry ingredients.  This recipe includes one of my favorite spices, cardamom.   Then I chopped dates. And chopped. And chopped.  And chopped.  Did I mention that there were lots of dates?   I added  boiling water to the dates and butter.  After stirring for a few minutes, I added brown sugar, a beaten egg and vanilla paste.  Finally, I stirred in the dry ingredients and walnuts.  Easy peasy.

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The batter reminded me of a muffin batter, maybe because of all the dates and nuts.

photo 3 I have to admit, the aroma was fantastic.  After they were cool, I frosted them.  Again, very easy.  The suggested topping was crème fraiche.  OMG…now, we’re talking!  I almost decided to deviate from the original recipe and frost these with cream cheese frosting, but am I glad I didn’t.  I hope that all of you have had a chance to try this amazing ingredient.  It is very hard to describe; not sour cream, not butter, not whipped cream or cream cheese – just imagine taking the best of all of these ingredients and you have crème fraiche.  Add to this no prep, and what you have is a perfect topping!

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Now, tasting!  My husband loved these.  I knew he would because his taste in desserts is just about the polar opposite of mine.  And he loves any kind of dried fruit.   I tasted them and…..they were good! I loved the sweetness and the crunchiness from the nuts.  Plus they were topped with crème fraiche.  Yum.


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I cannot lie, these were good but certainly not my favorites.  A few others who tasted these also liked them very much.  They mentioned sweetness and moistness and called them muffin-like.  I can’t say that I have completely changed my mind about dates, but it was nice remembering date nut bread and date shakes.  Good times.


Stay tuned,

Sweet Joan


2 thoughts on “Ode to a Date…nostalgic, but not dessert

    • The recipes can be found in Martha Stewart’s cupcake cookbook. Since I prepared and critiqued her recipe, copyright issues prevent me from publishing the actual recipe. Thank you for visiting my website!

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