Orange Date Yogurt Bread
I spiked the bread.
Perhaps it is the bizarre happiness I absorb from the Starbucks red holiday cups or the mesmerizing glow of my Christmas tree, but I couldn’t resist imparting an extra festive something on this Orange Date Yogurt Bread. My merriment: I soaked the dates in Triple sec, then folded them into a cinnamon and citrus-packed batter. Ladies and gents, meet holiday spirit in a loaf.
What is it about the holidays that leads me to excess? My cookies require double the chocolate (or just double the cookie). A simple sourdough loaf for my stuffing will not do—I am obliged to use homemade cornbread croutons. Oh, and why drink this when I can drink this?
Yes, I’m for holiday indulgence (hello, I put booze in the bread), but I also support balance. Orange Date Yogurt Bread is the baked incarnation of the two.
Let’s begin with indulgence. Orange Date Yogurt Bread tastes like a lazy weekend breakfast eaten slowly before a fireplace at a resort lodge. Maybe in Vail. Or Aspen. Let’s make it a resort spa, shall we?
Now the balance. Protein-packed Greek yogurt in place of butter is the secret to the bread’s incredible moisture, whole-wheat-white flour adds sneaky extra fiber, and the dates and orange juice provide natural sweetness. High five everyone.
Orange Date Yogurt Bread is exotic, but still homey. It is sophisticated without being pretentious. It’s cinnamon-pecan-orange glory, and each bite will leave you more satisfied than the one before it. The sugar in the dates in orange juice creates a lovely caramely-crispness at the edges, the pecans are toasty and rich, and the triple sec + orange zest hum in citrus harmony. Throw in the cinnamon and nutmeg, and we have ourselves a choir.
Ben flipped for this bread (we ate the entire loaf in two days), and I know you will too. Special enough for a holiday breakfast, yet healthy enough to power you through a morning of last-minute shopping, a slice of Orange Date Yogurt Bread is oh-so cheery.
To the resort-spas of Vail and Aspen: Why yes, I’d be delighted to accept a complimentary week’s stay in return for sharing this delectable recipe, sure to regale your clientele! You are most welcome. Really, the pleasure is all mine.
LAST CHANCE! Don’t forget to enter to win the holiday apron of your choice from a unique Etsy shop.
Date Orange Yogurt Bread
- 2 cups coarsely chopped dates* — (8 ounces, pitted)
- 1/3 cup orange liqueur — (I used Triple Sec)
- 1/4 cup non-fat plan Greek yogurt
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar — lightly packed
- 1 egg — at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest — (about 2 oranges)
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup orange juice — (3 oranges if freshly squeezed)
- 3/4 cup pecans — (toasted and coarsely chopped)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spritz a the bottom of an 8 by 4 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper, then lightly spritz again.
Combine the dates and orange liqueur in a small bowl and set aside for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large mixing bowl), beat the yogurt and brown sugar on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl. With the mixer on low, add the egg, vanilla, and orange zest.
In a separate bowl, sift together the white-whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. With the mixer still on low, add the flour mixture alternately with the orange juice to the creamed mixture, starting and ending with the flour and beating just until combined. By hand, fold in the dates with their liquid and the pecans.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
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