Soooo it's summertime here in NJ & this is the time we look forward to after the long snowy winter.
Lots of sunshine , outdoor fun, beach , barbeques so summer time is really fun. Last weekend was the 4th of July ( America's Independence day) , Long holiday weekend, summer, sunshine, meeting friends & family so it was the perfect time to try some new recipes. Since my husband is not a big fan of sweets or rather I should say that due to some medical constraints he has to keep away from sugar I have to look for excuses to bake something. A lot of recipes & pictures have made their quarters in my head for quiet some time now & what better excuse could I find to unload my head of some of this stuff so I could make room for more recipes. So here I go with 3 recipes for the long holiday weekend. .....
Date Nut Spice Cake Loaf
Walnut Pistachio Cream Cheese Cookies
Chocolate Coconut Macroons
The 1st one is a "Date Nut Spice Cake Loaf " a recipe inspired from 'Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa" . I had seen her baking this bread loaf in one of her episodes few days back & ever since I had wanted to bake it. She had made a bread loaf but I wanted it to be more like a cake so I made some modifications and the cake is sooooo very very delicious.......The recipe has a lot of ingredients & each ingredient contributes to the flavour of this cake so I would say that have all the ingredients ready before you try it.
1. 2 cups all purpose flour
2. 1 tsp baking powder
3. 1/2 tsp baking soda
4. 1/2 tsp salt
5. 1 tsp ground cinnamon powder
6. 1tsp ground nutmeg powder
7. 1/4 tsp ground cloves powder
8. 3/4 cup brown sugar ( powder)
9. 2 eggs
10. 1 stick of unsalted butter ( half cup)
11. 1 tsp vanilla extract
12. 1 tablespoon orange zest
13. 3/4 cup orange juice
14.1 cup deseeded chopped dated
15. 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
16. 1/2 cup raisins
1. Preheat oven to 350 F, butter the bottom of an 9x5 inch loaf pan & line it with parchment paper .
2. Sift together 1st 7 ingredients ( flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg , cloves) Keep aside
3. Soak the dates in a cup of lukewarm water so they become a little soft.
4. In The bowl of an electric mixer , beat the butter & brown sugar until it becomes light & fluffy ( approx: 2 mins) scrape down the bowl, add the eggs , vanilla & orange zest & beat again until well combined.
5. With the mixer on low add the flour & the orange juice alternately to the creamed mixture & beat only until well combined . By hand, fold in the dates( strain out the dates from the water before folding them into the mix) walnuts & raisins .
6. Transfer into the greased loaf pan & bake for approx: 50-60 mins or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20-30 mins , then turn it out on a wire rack & let it cool completely.
Note: To make the orange zest grate just the yellow part of the peel of a whole orange & the rest of the orange can be used for the juice , so one big orange is enough for this recipe.