It’s another beautiful Sunday here at Today We Bake, and that means I’m sharing a retro recipe from the Slovak American Anniversary Cookbook with you. This week I went for an American classic rather than a Slovak one, a recipe of which I’m sure there is a version in just about every 1950s cookbook. We’re making date nut bread, and I couldn’t be more excited.
I have to be honest: I almost didn’t make this recipe. I thought the name ‘date nut bread’ sounded, well, dated, and I was nervous everyone would think it was the equivalent of the fruit cake people are constantly making fun of in older movies. But the ingredient list is short and sweet, and dates are being used everywhere right now (helloooo, Larabars) as a natural sweetener. So I figured I’d give it a whirl and hope for the best. What I got was a moist, juicily sweet loaf of bread that had the crunch of pecans in every bite and that kept for at least a week. Don’t let the name fool you; this recipe is a keeper.
First, get your ingredients ready. Measure out your dates and chop them into small pieces. If you have whole pecans, give those a chop as well. Put the dates in a bowl, then pour a cup of boiling water over them and let them sit while you prep the rest of the batter.
To make the batter, whisk together the egg, sugar and butter, then add the dates. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, then add the pecans. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and you are done. It’s that simple.
After nearly an hour in the oven, you will have a deeply colored loaf that smells sweet and savory. Once you cut into it, you will see beautiful pieces of pecans and dates, and the color is as pretty a brown as quick bread gets. The crumb is moist but not dense, and the flavor is just-sweet-enough. Slather it with butter or eat a slice by itself, and you won’t be disappointed.
- 1½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup chopped pecans (or nuts of your choice)
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup chopped dates
- 1 egg
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter a loaf pan and set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the chopped nuts and mix well.
- In a medium bowl, combine the dates and boiling water. Mix well and let sit for a few minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk the egg slightly, then add the sugar and butter. Add the date mixture and whisk again. Add the dry ingredients and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon only until just combined.
- Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes. Let sit in the pan for a few minutes before turning out and slicing.