Date and Nut Bread

As my memory has it, both my grandmothers and an aunt made Date & Nut Bread whenever I visited. It was as much a staple as the jar of schmaltz in the refrigerator. I hadn't eaten it in probably 30 years until I got a urge to visit my past one rainy afternoon. The recipe below is from "The New McCall's Cook Book" 1973 edition. One of my three cookbooks. It makes a wonderful Date & Nut Bread, very close to my grandmother's, but not exact.

  • 4 cups of pitted dates - I use 1"-2" long Majools. 2 12-oz containers were more than I needed. Cut the dates into chunks about the size of a dime. I quarter them.
  • 2 cups of chopped walnuts - don't powder them, but get them chopped up good.
  • Dump them both in a big mixing bowl and pour 2 cups of boiling water over them. Stir and then let sit until cool - at least 30 minutes.
  • 2-3/4 cups of All Purpose flour sifted together with 1-1/2 teaspoons of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of salt. Set this aside.
  • Cream 1/2 cup of unsalted butter (1 stick and get it nice and soft first) with 1-1/4 cups of dark brown sugar firmly packed. Then mix in 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon of vanilla (use the good stuff!) When the butter is completely mixed add this to the date and nut mixture and mix it well with a wood spoon.
  • Add in the flour mixture and beat with the wood spoon until well combined.
  • Split the batter between 2 greased 9x5 meatloaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. The original recipe said and hour and ten minutes; mine were done in 50 minutes.