Preheat oven to 350 and prepare pan of choice - either a 12 cup regular muffin pan, a 1 lb. loaf pan or an 8-well mini loaf pan. Either grease and flour your pan or use a high-quality cooking spray like Vegelene.
Chop dates and place them in a medium heatproof bowl. Sprinkle baking soda over dates and pour boiling water over all. Stir and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder.
In a large mixing bowl, melt butter. Add sugars to melted butter and stir with a spatula or a Danish dough whisk. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Add half the cooled water and date mixture and stir gently to combine. Add half the flour and stir gently to combine. Repeat with remaining water/date mixture and flour mixture. Gently fold in nuts.
Divide batter into prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center of loaves/muffins comes out clean (or temp to 205 degrees F) – 40-45 mins for a loaf; 18-20 mins for mini loaves; 15-18 mins for muffins.
Allow to cool a few minutes in pans (a little longer if you bake one large loaf) and then carefully tip out onto a cooling rack.
To freeze, wrap each loaf slice or muffin in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer zipper bag.
Do not use pre-chopped dates - they are often hard, dry and lacking in flavor. Buy whole dates and chop them yourself. Periodically spray a sturdy knife with cooking spray to make the job less sticky. Trust me, the boost in flavor and moistness in your bread is worth taking a couple minutes to chop dates. Feel free to use white whole wheat flour in place of the all purpose or experiment with using other whole grain flours such as barley or spelt.I always stir my quick breads, snack cakes, biscuits, waffles, etc. with a Danish dough whisk. If you've never used one and you like to bake, treat yourself to this wonderful gadget. It makes whisking up batters like this foolproof - no overmixing which leads to tough, rubbery and gummy baked goods. You can find Danish dough whisks in most cooking or restaurant supply stores or numerous places online.
Recipe courtesy of Elizabeth at www.thewildolive.org