This is one of the more personal recipes that I could possibly share. This recipe, as the title says, comes from my grandmother. For years, I heard my mother longingly speak of her mother’s date nut bread, which would be made as Christmas presents for loved ones. During our extended sheltering at home during the pandemic, my mom and I found a big family recipe book as we cleaned out the garage, which just so happened to contain a recipe for my grandmother’s famous date nut bread. I feel really lucky that we were able to find the recipe book in the first place and reading through it helped to connect me to my mother’s side of the family. My grandmother passed away shortly after my birth and I’ve always wished that we could have had just a little bit more time. While making this recipe, I felt just a little bit closer to my grandma.
This recipe is definitely a little interesting to make but is not hard at all! One of the first parts of this recipe calls for boiling water mixed with baking soda and dates. While I couldn’t find any real reasoning for this in the rest of the recipe, after a little bit of internet sleuthing, I surmised that the water is meant to help the baking soda dissolve and not get stuck on the dates. I also think that this recipe may be meant for two small loaf pans rather than the medium sized loaf pan that I used. In the recipe notes, it said that it made two loaves, but I found it barely filled my tin. I almost made it in my individual scone pan from King Arthur which may have helped it to bake quicker and more evenly. Due to the size of the pan I baked it in, I had to add an extra 20 minutes to the baking time during which the edges started to get a little crispy. I really enjoyed this recipe and it made me smile to see my mother very enthusiastically devouring the date bread! I hope you enjoy baking but be warned, it takes longer to bake than it does to assemble the ingredients!
Grandma’s Date Nut Bread Recipe
- 1 cup dates, chopped and de-pitted
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon shortening/butter (original recipe called for shortening but I used butter this time)
- 1 cup nut meat (I chopped pecans but any sweeter raw nut would work, candied nuts may be too sweet to eat in the bread)
- 1 1/2 cup All Purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- Combine the dates, boiling water, and baking soda and let stand while doing step 3
- Cream together sugar, eggs, and shortening/butter. Ensure it is thoroughly mixed and almost fluffy.
- Combine dates and sugar mix. To the combined mix, add the nut meat, flour, and vanilla extract.
- Pour into loaf pan and bake 1 hour, 20 minutes if using a large loaf pan or 1 hour for smaller loaves. Check for doneness by sticking a knife in the middle of the loaf, if it comes out clean then it’s ready to come out of the oven.
- Let loaf cool and enjoy warm or at room temperature with a bit of butter slathered on top or just plain if you like!