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 has been modified 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" Majools. Two 12-oz containers are plenty.
  • 2 cups of chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 3 cups of All Purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1-1/4 cups of dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla


  • Cut the dates into chunks about the size of a dime. I quarter them. Chop the walnuts - don't powder them, but get them chopped up good. Dump them both in a big mixing bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Stir and then cover the bowl with foil or a big plate. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then let it sit until cool - at least another 30 minutes.
  • Sift the flour and baking soda and set it aside.
  • Cream the butter with the brown sugar. Then mix in the eggs and the 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 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.