Pat Nixon's Date Nut Bread

Pat Nixon’s Date Nut Bread

this is such a classic date bread and perfect for fall (or anytime!)

I had such rave reviews from the family last week on my Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread that I decided not to rest on my laurels but to forge ahead & make Date Nut Bread. I haven’t made or had it for years, maybe decades, but I came across a fun, retro recipe from Pat Nixon, and couldn’t resist!

Pat Nixon's Date Nut Bread
Pat Nixon’s Date Nut Bread

Now, should I trust the wife of a man known the world over as “Tricky Dick?” I’m not sure, but I felt much better after realizing it was almost item by item the same recipe my Grandmother used. I guess it was, like many recipes of the era, extensively passed around. Sold.

This recipe was originally published in the Washington Post, Hints from Heloise, in 1961, and reprinted in 2010. It seems like there was an error in the amount of butter, so I did a bit of adapting.

Pat Nixon's Date Nut Bread
Pat Nixon’s Date Nut Bread

This recipe makes two loaves – so one to give and one to keep, but if you’d rather cut it in half, don’t sweat the slight discrepancies in the measurements. It’s not so particular that you can’t just guesstimate the sugar and flour measurements.

It’s a lovely recipe, and it’s even better if tightly wrapped and refrigerated overnight. The texture improves and overall it just seem moister. Final conclusion? Tricky Dick might not have my full confidence, but Pat is a different story!

I nearly forgot my shopping tips! Any dried fruits or nuts are at their low during the time period around the Christmas holidays. Stock up then! Freeze the nuts. Aldi prices are also very good on nuts, although the selection may vary.

Pat Nixon's Date Nut Bread
Pat Nixon’s Date Nut Bread

Pat Nixon's Date Nut Bread

  • Servings: 2 loaves
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 pound packaged dates
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 stick of  butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Cut dates into small pieces and place in a bowl. Add baking soda to boiling water and pour over dates in bowl. Set aside and let mixture stand.

With a mixer, cream butter and sugar together. Add the egg. Strain water from the date mixture into the cream, sugar and egg mixture. Add flour and beat well. Add nuts, dates and vanilla.

Pour the mixture into greased 8 x 4″ loaf pans. Bake for one hour in a 350 F oven.

from the kitchen of, adapted from Pat Nixon

Nutrition Facts
Servings 16.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 235
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7 g 11 %
Saturated Fat 2 g 9 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 17 mg 6 %
Sodium 176 mg 7 %
Potassium 236 mg 7 %
Total Carbohydrate 45 g 15 %
Dietary Fiber 2 g 10 %
Sugars 40 g
Protein 2 g 5 %
Vitamin A 1 %
Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium 2 %
Iron 3 %


Today, of course, I’ll be linking to our very own Throwback Thursday Link Party, hosted by Quinn of Dad What’s for Dinner, Meaghan of 4 Sons are Us, Alli of Tornadough, Carlee from Cooking with Carlee and Moi! That’s right – me!

Click over to our latest Throwback Thursday post for links to their blogs and social media, rules and more info or, as always, to see all the links or add your own, click on the little blue frog, below.

As always, to view the links (there’s a photo of each post) or to add your own, click on the little blue frog, below!

And, as I do almost every Friday, I’ll be linking up to Angie’s Fiesta Friday  – this is Number 132! Many of my fave bloggers hang out there every weekend and this week’s co-hosts are Sandhya @ Indfused and Nancy @ Feasting With Friends! It’s always a fun line up of bloggers and linkers.

The weekend wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t link up to Saucy Saturdays! Four bloggers, 4x the fun! I was surprised to see they gave me a HUGE shout-out this week! Thanks, guys!

26 thoughts on “Pat Nixon’s Date Nut Bread”

  1. Made this tonight. Super easy and it turned out beautiful. Crust is chewy and the inside moist and tender. The only thing I added was some salt. Flavor is perfect. Thank you.

  2. Dates are not something I think to use very often. We had a bunch of them a few Christmases ago and didn’t quite know what to do with them. Of course as soon as they were gone I found a ton of recipes I would have like to have tried. Oh well, maybe next time! I love making vintage recipes, especially ones with a story. This looks like a great one!

    1. Isn’t that way it usually goes with things! I made this and now I’m thinking about Sticky Toffee Pudding, but waiting for cooler weather…

      I love pulling out some of the old recipes now and then. 🙂

  3. There was a time (decades ago) that I turned my nose up at dates, and the date bread my mom made. Thankfully, I came to my senses. 😉 I absolutely adore dates now! This recipe may be an oldie but a goodie, yet it’s totally new to me. Saving the recipe for sure… I can almost taste the delicious flavors. 

    Thanks for sharing your fabulous recipe with this week’s party at Fiesta Party!

    1. Nancy, I felt the same way. I remember when I was little – whenever the relatives got together, whether it was a birthday or a funeral, there were always a whole bunch of different sweet breads. I’d always avoid the date nut. Now I wish I hadn’t waited so long to make this!

    1. I’ve been wanting to try that recipe and keep forgetting! Glad to know they’re good! When I was little I remember watching her in all the old black & white movies and I wanted to be just like her when I grew up…I must have forgotten somewhere along the line…

      1. For some reason a newspaper (NY Times?) chose to replace the melted chocolate in the recipe with cocoa powder. NOT the intent of the recipe. I have a copy that I cut out of our local newspaper 20 plus years ago which I typed out.

        Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies – makes 16 squares

        2 oz/60 gm dark, unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
        1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
        2 eggs
        1 cup sugar
        1/4 cup flour
        1 cup chopped or broken-up walnuts or pecans
        1 teaspoon vanilla
        Pinch of salt

        Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F.

        Grease an 8 x 8-inch-square pan, preferably lined with parchment paper to make removal easier when thoroughly cooled.

        Melt together butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, then take the saucepan off the heat and transfer the butter-chocolate mixture to a large bowl. Let cool a bit so you don’t cook the eggs.

        Whisk in the sugar, then the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla. Stir in the nuts.

        Combine the flour and salt in a separate bowl and then fold into the cocoa-butter mixture, until just combined and you no longer see white floury areas.

        Pour into pan and rap the base against the table to get rid of any bubbles in the batter.

        Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs. Do not overbake; the brownies should be gooey.

        Let cool completely in the pan, then remove and cut into bars.

        NOTE: The thin shiny crust just shattered when I tried to cut it. Someone suggested using a plastic knife in case you want to try it before I do.

        1. Oh, thanks so much! I have heard about this plastic knife thing once before – and it explains I guess why my stepmom has this really fancy looking plastic knife with plastic flowers all over the handle. I was initially flummoxed by it! I guess it was a serving knife for parties.

  4. Hi Mollie, Sounds delicious plus your photos are so appealing! We always ate cream cheese on our date nut bread. I always felt sorry for Pat Nixon. In her photos I thought she usually looked sad or downcast, rarely smiling. Thanks for the recipe! Blessings, Janet

    1. I wanted to get a picture with some cream cheese because I remembered that, too! But it got all eaten up. I only got the one slice I was holding in the picture and the teensiest smidge the next day. I was bummed lol!

      I always thought Pat Nixon was a class act – and what a difficult time she went through, especially in that time period.

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