Date-Nut Bread is an old-school treat that is at once wholesome and comforting. This recipe has been in my family for generations and I’ve loved it my whole life! The soft, moist, cake-y texture, the crunchy walnuts, and the smokey-sweet dates all make for a little slice of heaven with your morning cuppa or a cold glass of milk.

I like my muffins to be on the hearty and wholesome side. I don’t want to feel like I’m eating dessert for breakfast or a sugary ball of fluff for an afternoon snack. These Date Nut Breads (or Date Nut Muffins, if you prefer) are perfect. They are sweet from a modest amount of sugar and a generous amount of fiber- and nutrient-rich dates. The walnuts also amp up the toothsome texture and add valuable nutrients.


Moist, chewy, old fashioned Date Nut Bread

You can bake this Date Nut Bread recipe as a single loaf, a dozen muffins, or as I did, in 8 mini loaves. Whenever I make muffins or quick breads like this I always freeze most of final product. First, it keeps me from gobbling it all down in 2 days. And more importantly, this way I always have a supply of delicious baked goods in the freezer for a quick breakfast or afternoon treat.

Date-Nut Bread freezes beautifully – a few seconds in the microwave and it’s just like it came right out of the oven.

This recipe is pretty wholesome as is – low fat, lower added sugar and plenty of fiber from the dates and nuts. However, feel free to use white whole wheat flour in place of the all purpose flour to up the fiber and nutrition, or experiment with subbing in other whole grain flours.

I hope you will enjoy my family’s old-fashioned Date-Nut Bread as much as we do!



What You Need to Make Date-Nut Bread

  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts

Ingredient & Equipment Notes

  1. Do not use pre-chopped dates – they are often hard, dry and lacking in flavor. Buy whole dates and chop them yourself. Periodically spray a sturdy knife with cooking spray to make the job less sticky. Trust me, the boost in flavor and moistness in your bread is worth taking a couple minutes to chop dates. 😀
  2. As I said above, feel free to use white whole wheat flour in place of the all purpose or experiment with using other whole grain flours such as barley or spelt.
  3. I always stir my quick breads, snack cakes, biscuits, waffles, etc. with a Danish dough whisk. If you’ve never used one and you like to bake, treat yourself to this wonderful gadget. It makes whisking up batters like this foolproof – no overmixing which leads to tough, rubbery and gummy baked goods. You can find Danish dough whisks in most cooking or restaurant supply stores or numerous places online.

How to Make Date-Nut Bread

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare pan of choice – either a 12 cup regular muffin pan, a 1 lb. loaf pan or an 8-well mini loaf pan like this one from USA Pans. Either grease and flour your pan or use a high-quality cooking spray like Vegelene.

Chop dates and place them in a medium heatproof bowl.  Sprinkle baking soda over dates and pour boiling water over all.  Stir and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. 

In a large mixing bowl, melt butter.  Add sugars to melted butter and stir with a spatula or a Danish dough whisk.  Stir in the eggs and vanilla.   Add half the cooled water and date mixture and stir gently to combine.  Add half the flour and stir gently to combine.  Repeat with remaining water/date mixture and flour mixture.  Gently fold in nuts. 


Date Nut Bread batter in a USA Pan mini loaf pan

Divide batter into prepared pans.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into center of loaves/muffins comes out clean (or temp to 205 degrees F) – 40-45 mins for a loaf; 18-20 mins for mini loaves; 15-18 mins for muffins.

Allow to cool a few minutes in pans (a little longer if you bake one large loaf) and then carefully tip out onto a cooling rack.

To freeze, wrap each loaf slice or muffin in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer zipper bag.


Baked Date Nut Bread mini loaves

Don’t these little breads look amazing?

I promise, they are! My Date Nut bread recipe strikes a perfect balance: just the right sweetness from the small amount of sugar and the generous amount of dates; a texture that is hearty and satisfying while still being soft and cakey; and a satisfying bit of crunch and chew from the walnuts and dates. This is a recipe I turn to often, and I hope you and your family will enjoy it as well.

Peace,

Elizabeth

PS – If you love muffins and quick breads as much as I do, here are a few more recipes I think you’ll want to try: sweet and spicy Pumpkin Spice Muffins or this fabulous Cranberry-Orange Pecan Bread.


Date Nut Bread

Hearty, cake-like Date Nut bread
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 12
Author Elizabeth at thewildolive.org

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp butter or margarinemelted
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 and prepare pan of choice – either a 12 cup regular muffin pan, a 1 lb. loaf pan or an 8-well mini loaf pan. Either grease and flour your pan or use a high-quality cooking spray like Vegelene.
  • Chop dates and place them in a medium heatproof bowl. Sprinkle baking soda over dates and pour boiling water over all. Stir and set aside to cool.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder.
  • In a large mixing bowl, melt butter. Add sugars to melted butter and stir with a spatula or a Danish dough whisk. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Add half the cooled water and date mixture and stir gently to combine. Add half the flour and stir gently to combine. Repeat with remaining water/date mixture and flour mixture. Gently fold in nuts.
  • Divide batter into prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center of loaves/muffins comes out clean (or temp to 205 degrees F) – 40-45 mins for a loaf; 18-20 mins for mini loaves; 15-18 mins for muffins.
  • Allow to cool a few minutes in pans (a little longer if you bake one large loaf) and then carefully tip out onto a cooling rack.
  • To freeze, wrap each loaf slice or muffin in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer zipper bag.

Notes

Do not use pre-chopped dates – they are often hard, dry and lacking in flavor. Buy whole dates and chop them yourself. Periodically spray a sturdy knife with cooking spray to make the job less sticky. Trust me, the boost in flavor and moistness in your bread is worth taking a couple minutes to chop dates.
Feel free to use white whole wheat flour in place of the all purpose or experiment with using other whole grain flours such as barley or spelt.
I always stir my quick breads, snack cakes, biscuits, waffles, etc. with a Danish dough whisk. If you’ve never used one and you like to bake, treat yourself to this wonderful gadget. It makes whisking up batters like this foolproof – no overmixing which leads to tough, rubbery and gummy baked goods. You can find Danish dough whisks in most cooking or restaurant supply stores or numerous places online.