As someone who loves baking, and is also trying to cut refined sugars and starches out of her diet, I'm always on the hunt for recipes for wholegrain baked goods that are inside the lines and still taste good. My dear pals from Evelyn's Crackers do gorgeous things with a variety of beautiful heritage grains, and they're always encouraging me to just go for it and substitute local, wholegrain flour for the all purpose stuff in most baking recipes.
I'm also trying to make better use of the ingredients I already have at home. And the internet allows you to search for recipes based on the ingredients you've got. I had organic dates, wholegrain rye flour and a third of a bag of chocolate chips. After a bit of tinkering and adjusting, I came up with this recipe for a Cocoa Date Rye Loaf. I knew the rye flour was going to make the loaf dense and hearty, so I thought I'd balance that out with the richness of chocolate and the sweetness and texture of the dates.
An important note: wholegrain flours are more absorbent than refined ones, and sometimes your finished product that turn out a bit dry. Up the fat and liquid just a bit when substituting wholegrains in to keep the finished product moist and enjoyable to eat.
I really love the way this turned out! This loaf is dense, moist and full of interesting flavour and texture. The rye adds a nice nuttiness to the flavour while providing a solid base for the loaf. The dates are sweet and chewy, and the chocolate chips turn into smooth pools of creamy flavour that pairs really well with the grains and the spices I've added. I also added some good, rich cocoa powder that provides some depth of flavour making this a rather sophisticated, yet unrefined treat!
This works with a smoothie in the morning for breakfast, or with a cup of tea in the afternoon to get you through to dinnertime. Go ahead, bake yourself something lovely!!
Even though I've cut the sugar in half from the original recipe, I did sprinkle just a little bit of it on the top of the loaf to provide a little sweet crunch. Do what speaks to you!
Cocoa Date Rye Loaf
Makes 1 9x5 loaf
The texture of the dates plus the smooth bits of chocolate and the hearty rye grain work so well together in this wholesome, delicious loaf. It’s perfect with a smoothie in the morning, or with a cup of tea in the afternoon.
1¼ cup dates, pitted & chopped
1 cup boiling water
1/3 cup butter, unsalted
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups rye flour
3 tbsp good quality cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp salt
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9x5 loaf pan and set aside.
2. Place the chopped dates in a medium bowl and pour boiling water over. Let cool to lukewarm.
3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until smooth; add egg and vanilla and mix to combine.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk or sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt.
5. Add the dry ingredients in three portions, alternating with the dates and soaking water, beating lightly after each addition. Add the chocolate chips and mix to combine.
6. Scrape the mixture into prepared loaf pan and even out the top. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds evenly on the top of the batter and bake for 60-75 minutes, testing with a knife or skewer at 60 minutes.
7. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and finish cooling on a rack.