Dates. According to a neighbor, a nurse who worked in the Middle East for several years, many Middle Eastern people believe that dates have medicinal properties. Specifically, that it could ease pain. Mothers-to-be in the throes of labor would ask for dates, the nurses would pick from the trees outside the hospital, and the mothers-to-be would chew dates right there in the delivery room.
Placebo? Maybe. I’ve never tried eating dates as a pain reliever. I just like eating them, period. And I love baking with them. These loaves of bread, made with my tried-and-tested basic bread recipe, has dates, coconut flakes and honey inside. You don’t need to spread anything on this bread as it is perfect by itself.
Dates, coconut and honey bread
Prepare two 8"x4" loaf pans. If your loaf pans are not non-stick, grease and flour them lightly.
In a bowl, mix together the dates, coconut flakes, 4 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of honey.
- Take the risen dough and roll into a rectangle about a quarter of an inch thick.
- Spread the dates-coconut-honey mixture on the dough.
- Roll the dough into a log. Cut into two equal portions and place them in the pans. If you want to be a bit OC, you can tuck the cut sides underneath. It’ll stretch the top and make the loaves smoother.
- If some of the butter drips out during rolling, don’t worry — just scoop the butter and pour over the dough in the pan.
Cover the pans loosely and leave the dough to rise a second time. Depending on the room temperature, 20 to 30 minutes should do it.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Bake at 350F for 35 minutes (if you use a different size of pan, I don’t know what the proper baking time should be).
Take the loaves out of the pan. Mix together the remaining butter and honey and brush on top of the loaves. Return the bread into the oven and bake for another five minutes.
- Cool the bread in the pans for about ten minutes before inverting. Continue cooling them on a rack. Or not. We couldn’t wait. We sliced one loaf while still hot. We were hungry.