Vegan dried fruit + nut bread with date syrup (no sugar!)

Chockful of flavor — dried fruit sweetness, nutty richness, citrus tang, homey spices — and plenty of room to be creative. The recipe makes a lot, so you might want to halve the recipe the first time. Kitchen shears work well to cut the dates and dried fruit (if you find the fruit sticking to your knife). Adapted from healthylivingaward.com.

Ingredients
  • 8 ounces chopped pitted dates
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 16 ounces mixed dried fruit (such as raisins, pineapple, prunes, and apricots)
  • ¾ cup whole-wheat flour
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ cup almond meal or ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon or more pumpkin pie spice (ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves)
  • grated lemon zest or orange zest
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • chopped nuts (such as pecans, walnuts, macadamias, hazelnuts, and/or almonds)
  • Sliced raw almonds, for topping
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, add the dates and the hot water. When cool, mash the dates into the water.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the dried fruit. Add to the mashed dates along with the two flours, baking powder, almond meal, pumpkin pie spice, citrus zest, orange juice, and nuts. Mix until well combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread out evenly. Sprinkle the sliced almonds on top and press gently into the batter.
  4. Bake until golden and a toothpick comes out clean, checking after 40 minutes to avoid overbaking. Transfer to a rack to cool, lift out of the pan, and serve warm.
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