Friday, October 7, 2011

Date Nut Bread

When our children were young we often visited Hubby's parents who lived a half hour drive from Gettysburg, PA  where we enjoyed visits to the battlegrounds and spent many days at this historic site.  Several times we took ghost tours, walked the beautiful grounds, and learned about the rich heritage of this sacred site where so many lost their lives.

My favorite place to eat was the Dobbin House with also included the Springhouse Tavern.  This structure is the oldest building in the town, and being built in 1776 it has a wonderful history of its own.  It is built over 2 springs and has a cellar room used by the "underground railroad" as a safe house for escaping slaves.  We always took our kids to eat in the dark, downstairs tavern which was lighted by candles.  This restaurant produces many wonderful menu items which have remained popular for years, but my consistent choice was  a large platter of fresh fruits accompanied by cottage cheese, applesauce and a wonderful sweet bread...I'd love to have that recipe.  I always ordered a mug of hot cider with my meal, even in the hot, humid summertime.  Irresistible.

To re-create this dinner at home is a treat.  Especially at this time of year when the melons and berries remain plentiful and I can add freshly picked apples, pears, and grapes to our platter; this meal is a dream that everyone enjoys.  At our house this meal can be simple or very involved depending on the platter size and the fruits included.  I always include a sweet bread of some type.  Today I made a Date Nut Bread for this meal.

It is best to bake this bread a day in advance of eating to let the flavors come together and to create a moistness in the bread.  Bake and then when cooled, wrap tightly in plastic wrap or bag.  Store in refrigerator after bread is a day old...good for a week.

4 C    Ap flour
4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt

If desired 1 t cinnamon can be added as well as lemon or orange zest.   A teaspoon or two of the citrus juice is also a nice flavor addition, but this liquid should be added, if desired, to the wet ingredients along with or instead of the other extracts.

Whisk these items together in a medium size bowl.

Add the following to the flour mixture and stir together, coating the piece with flour:

2 1/2 C pitted dates, each date sliced into 4-5 pieces
2 C chopped pecans--toasted is best

1 pound butter at room temperature
3/4 C sour cream at room temperature

Mix these two items in a mixer bowl with a paddle attachment until smooth and creamy.

Add to the butter mixture and beat after each addition:
1 1/2 C packed brown sugar
8 eggs
1 T vanilla
1/2 t almond extract

Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined.

Divide mixture into three 9 X 4 prepared loaf pans.
Bake for about 35 minutes at 325^ .
When done, breads should be browned and firm to the touch.

Cool on wire rack 10 minutes before removing from pan.  Then let the bread become completely cool before wrapping.



  1. I've always wanted to visit Gettysburg, but have never made it even though we went to Pennsylvania often to visit my grandparents when I was growing up. If we make it back that way it is on the top of my list of places to visit. The Tavern sounds like a lovely place and the fruit platter sounds delightful. Your date bread looks so good and I just saw some fresh dates at the store the other day that I wondered what I could make with. This looks perfect!

  2. These look excellent. I love sticky date pudding/cake, never tried with nuts but sounds like a wonderful combination