Put the dates in a small saucepan with 5 tablespoons water. Cover and cook gently for about 5 minutes until the dates have softened and the water has been absorbed. Leave to cool.
Lift the bread pan out of the machine and fit the blade. Put 150 g (5 oz) of the toffee sauce in the pan with the remaining ingredients, except the dates, following the order specified in the manual.
Fit the pan into the machine and close the lid. Set to a 750 g (1½ lb) loaf size on the sweet programme (or basic if the machine doesn't have a sweet setting). Add the dates to the pan when the machine beeps.
At the end of the programme lift the pan out of the machine and shake the bread out on to a wire rack to cool. Dust with icing sugar. Serve freshly baked or lightly toasted with the remaining sauce spooned over. If the sauce has become very thick on cooling, it can be heated gently to soften.