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Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread

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 Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread. I haven’t made or had Date Nut Bread for years, maybe decades, but I came across a fun, retro recipe and couldn’t resist!

Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread
Pat Nixon’s Date Nut Bread

Everyone loved Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread, my Dad and Stepmom, and so did I, much to my surprise. I remembered when I was a kid, I’d always avoid Date Nut Bread on the platters of various quick bread that showed up at each family gathering. I guess I have more grown-up tastes now.

About Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread:

When I looked at the recipe, I thought, “Now, should I trust the wife of a man known the world over as “Tricky Dick?” I wasn’t completely 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. Ya gotta love those tried and true recipes. 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 was glad I had Grandma’s recipe to compare it with. I did a bit of adapting and included the changes in my recipe, below.

The recipe didn’t specify what kind of nuts to use in the bread. Typically, you’ll see walnuts, pecans or Brazilian nuts, or a mixture of them. Use whatever you’d like. Keep in mind that very hard nuts will not be quite as easy to chew as the nuts that are a bit softer. Almonds would be an example of one of the harder nuts. Peanuts, which aren’t really  a nut, aren’t really complimentary to the dates.

Did you know that most quick bread is even better if tightly wrapped and refrigerated overnight? The texture improves and overall it just seems moister. It is a little bit counter-intuitive, but give it a try with any quick bread and see if you don’t agree. It was the case with Pat Nixons Date Nut bread.

My final conclusion after more than a few tastes? Tricky Dick might not have ever had my full confidence, but Pat is a different story!

Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread
Pat Nixon’s Date Nut Bread
Save time on Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread:

Like most of these old-fashioned recipes, Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread makes two loaves. I suppose the ordeal of baking was a lot more strenuous, and families were usually larger, so a baker would want to maximize their time. I love it because if I’m taking a loaf of Date Nut Bread somewhere, I have one to bring and one to keep, or if it’s for home, one for now and one to freeze for later. If you’d rather cut the recipe in half, don’t sweat the slight discrepancies in the measurements. Date Nut Bread is not so particular that you can’t just guesstimate the sugar and flour measurements.

Save Money on Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread:

I nearly forgot my shopping tips for Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread! Any dried fruits or nuts are at their low during the time period around the Christmas holidays. Stock up then! Since my store stopped doubling coupons, I don’t use them as much but I do tend to start to gather them or print online and use them around Thanksgiving and Christmas, or a few weeks before Easter. It really is the best time to buy most baking goods and items and that makes it a little more worthwhile. The producers put out scads of coupons and the stores have great sales.

Both nuts and dried fruits are at their lowest price during the fall/winter season. Keep the nuts in the freezer where they’ll stay fresh for ages. If the dried fruit is in flimsy packaging, put them in a Ziploc. Aldi and Costco both have very good prices on nuts, too, all year round. Dried fruit seems to be pretty hit and miss at Aldi, but I do see it at Costco. And if you don’t have either of those options, take a peek around your store and see if the bulk items are a little less pricey.

Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread
Pat Nixon’s Date Nut Bread

Print

Pat Nixon’s Date Nut Bread

Pat Nixon's Date Nut Bread

An old-fashioned date nut bread, moist and flavorful.

  • Author: pat nixon
  • Yield: 2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

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. You will be using both the dates and the soaking water in the recipe.

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.

Notes

Makes 2 loaves and freezes beautifully

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 slices
  • Calories: 235
  • Sugar: 40g
  • Sodium: 16mg
  • Fat: 7g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 45g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Cholesterol: 17mg

________________________________________________________

 

I’ll be linking Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread 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!

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29 Comments on “Pat Nixon’s Date Nut Bread

  1. After making this, I realized the error. I strained the water off the dates! Maybe word this differently. Strain the dates from water, set dates aside. Add date water to the mixture. This important step is missing from your recipe!

    • Thank you so much. I’ll check the wording…we don’t want that happening to anyone else. Ok, I just checked. It does say “Strain water from the date mixture into the cream, sugar and egg mixture.” I’m not sure how to make that clearer. I’ll think on it.

      Mollie

      • Hi again, Ellen, I added a note to the recipe that says, “You will be using both the dates and the soaking water in the recipe.” just so no one else will have to suffer the fate of being deprived of this excellent bread!!

  2. 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.

  3. Just to make sure I am reading right, I add the water from the dates into the mixture?

    • I know what you mean! I haven’t had Date Nut Bread since I was a kid and Surprise – my grown up palate loves it a LOT more. It was very moist, very tasty!!

      • Hi Christie – I see it wasn’t on the ingredients – I added it in because it seems I never bake without it. I used a teaspoon and I’ll put it on the list. Great eye! 🙂

  4. I love how you say, one to give, one to keep. I spend a lot of time baking but always give it away after trying it to try and maintain my waistline.

    It looks delicious. ☺

  5. 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!

    • 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. 🙂

  6. 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!

    • 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!

  7. I’ve made Katherine Hepburn’s brownies and they were delicious. This date nut loaf sounds tasty too.

    • 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…

      • 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.

        • 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.

  8. 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

    • 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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