Medjool Date Nut Spice Bread

Medjool Date Nut Spice Bread
Makes 3 small loaves or 1 – 8 inch loaf
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

Ingredients Amount
Medjool dates, coarsely chopped 2 cups
Cointreau or Triple Sec 1/3 cup
Unsalted butter, room temperature 4 Tblsp.
Light brown sugar, lightly packed 3/4 cup
Extra-large egg 1
Vanilla extract 1 tsp.
Grated Orange Zest 1 Tblsp.
All-purpose flour 2 cups
Baking Powder 2 tsp.
Baking Soda 1/2  tsp.
Ground Cinnamon 1 tsp.
Ground Nutmeg 1 tsp.
Ground Cloves 1/4  tsp.
Kosher Salt 1 tsp.
Orange Juice, fresh squeezed 3/4 cup (3 oranges)
Pecans, chopped 3/4 cup
For the Cream Cheese Spread:
Cream Cheese, room temperature 6 ounces
Sugar 1/3 cup
Grated Orange Zest 1 Tblsp.

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray the bottom and side of the bread loaf pans.
2. Combine the dates and Cointreau or Triple Sec in a small bowl and set aside for 30 minutes.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar together on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl. With the mixer on low, add the egg, vanilla, and orange zest.
4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Add the flour mixture alternately with the orange juice to the creamed mixture, beating only until combined.
5. By hand, stir in the dates with their liquid, and the pecans. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans and smooth the top.
6. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes if using 3 small pans. Bake for 50-60 minutes if using 1 large loaf pan, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
7. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
8. You can freeze the bread at this point or serve and enjoy!
9. Serve with the Orange Cream Cheese Spread: cream the cream cheese, sugar, and orange zest until just combined. Slice the bread and serve with the cream cheese spread on the side.
Enjoy!