- Place the dates, baking soda, salt, and carob powder in a mixing bowl.
- Toss lightly with a fork.
- Add the shortening and boiling water, but do not stir.
- Let stand 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Combine the eggs and orange blossom water or vanilla.
- Add the honey and flour, stirring until well blended.
- Add the date mixture, stirring just to blend.
- Pour into a well-greased 9- by 5-inch loaf pan.
- Bake 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let cool before removing from pan.
- Serve plain or top each slice with plain yogurt sweetened with a little honey.
Replace carob powder with ¾ cup chopped walnuts. Decrease the amount of boiling water by 1 tablespoon and replace honey with 1 cup sugar.