Pumpkin Date Bread

Melinda Strauss, Kitchen Tested
1 cup pitted dates
½ cup water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cloves
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted margarine, melted
¼ cup honey
2 eggs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and coat a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray or oil.
Combine pitted dates and water in a heatproof bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Set the bowl aside so the dates can steep in the water.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and cloves.
Add the canned pumpkin puree, melted margarine, honey and eggs and blend the mixture on medium-low until smooth.
With a fork, blend the steeped dates with the hot water until a thick paste forms.
Pour a third of the pumpkin bread batter into the prepared loaf pan then add half of the date paste and swirl lightly into the batter. Pour another third of the batter in, add the remaining date paste and swirl it into the batter once again. Top with the remaining batter and bake the pumpkin bread for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
Cool completely on a wire rack then slice and serve.

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