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Monday, April 30, 2012

Chocolate Raisin-Date Spread and Bread

Raisin-Date Spread and Chocolate Raisin - Date Spread Bread
Gluten Free, Egg Free, Sugar Free, Nut Free, Soy Free

Chocolate - Raisin Date Spread / Paste / Jam / Honey
Today is National Raisin Day!  In honour of this rather odd day, I decided to share some raisin facts and a rather unusual raisin recipe.  If you happen to not like raisins very much, don’t worry, you won’t even know they’re in this bread or spread!!

Apparently, back in the early 1900s when the raisin industry was just getting going, it was decided that a National Raisin Day should be started in order to gain attention to the new industry.  Now this is not to say that raisins haven’t been around long before the 1900s.  According to the, cultivation of grapes began in about 6,000BCE in the present-day countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. 

Raisins are very, very good for you.  They are high in antioxidants and fibre.  Some of the purported health benefits of raisins include: balancing of the acidity of the blood (high acidity of the blood can cause skin problems, arthritis, gout, heart disease, tumors, and even cancer); anemia; relief from constipation; fever; bone health; ocular health (due to high amounts of Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene); fighting bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities; lowered blood pressure.

I never used to like raisins.  For years I thought they were gross and tasted funky.  Now that I’m older and my palate has changed, I’ve really become a big fan.  It all started a few years ago when I was craving a bagel and the only one I could find in the house was one cinnamon raisin bagel.  I was hooked.  After that I started making my own raisin bread, putting raisins on my sandwiches, and on breakfast buns with eggs.  Then I moved on to mixing them in with dried fruit, and finally, as of a few weeks ago, I started making them into a raisin-date paste.  Dates are also super, super healthy and the original inspiration for this paste comes from this site that provides a recipe for the date spread.  Sometimes this is referred to as Date Honey or Date Jam.  Well dates are expensive at my market in Wisconsin, but raisins are cheap, so I substituted half the dates for raisins and haven’t looked back.  This way you can enjoy the health benefits of both dates and raisins!

Chocolate Raisin - Date Bread
So I’m sharing two recipes here.  One for Chocolate Raisin-Date paste/spread, and one for Chocolate Raisin-Date bread.  The Soaked Raisin and Date Spread is a sweet, processed sugar free paste that can be used for a variety of things on its own.  For example:

Spread on toast
Mixed in to yogurt
Over ice cream
Blended in a smoothie
In lieu of applesauce in baked goods
In the bread recipe I’ve shared below!

Oh, and as for the photos, well, I’m visiting my mom and clearly one of her cats thought my little photo shoot was a great chance to come, hang out, and get some attention… Don't worry, these are not the raisins I used to make the spread and bread! 

Dates for Raisin - Date Spread
Raisins for Soaking

Soaked Raisin - Date Spread

½ c dates
½ c raisins
1c water or orange juice

Soak the dates and raisins in a bowl with the water and orange juice for 3-4 hours, until thoroughly softened. 
Blend fruit and juice in a food processor until smooth. 

To make the chocolate raisin-date paste, add:
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla

Other options:
For a thicker spread, drain the soaking liquid (you can use this to sweeten a drink or smoothie) and blend the raisins and dates alone.
Checking things out

Establishing domination
Chocolate Raisin-Date Bread

Dry Ingredients

2 Tbsp ground flax
½ c brown rice flour
¼ c tapioca starch
¼ c potato starch
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
1.5 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Pinch of salt

Wet Stuff

2 Tbsp oil of choice (canola, coconut, etc)
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 c chocolate raisin-date paste

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a bread pan.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a large size bowl.
Add the wet ingredients and mix until smooth.  Pour into the greased bread pan and bake for 25 – 30, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. 
Allow the bread to rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a cooling rack. 

For an extra dose of healthy goodness, serve this with a bit more Chocolate Raisin-Date Spread!

*OAS Info: Note that dates are listed on the Oral Allergy Syndrome chart as potentially cross-pollinating with birch pollen.  If dates make your mouth itch, you may want to skip this one, or try using just raisins instead :)

King of the Raisins

 Happy National Raisin Day!  Do you have a favorite raisin recipe?

This recipe was shared on the following great sites: 
My Sweet and Savory, The Healthy Home Economist, Hey What's for Dinner Mom?
Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, Cooking Traditional Foods, The Gluten Free Homemaker , Tessa Domestic Diva

Gluten Free Meal Plan via Musings of a Housewife


  1. What a creative idea! I know my kids would love this too! Thx for sharing on afw again!

    1. I hope they do :) I served it to some friends for a dessert and was worried it wouldn't be sweet or appealing for those who still eat a lot of refined sugar, but most of them asked for seconds so I take that as a good sign!

  2. how long can we store the raisin-date paste?

    1. I usually eat it within 4 or 5 days so I can't really say!


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