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This week should really be called “Retro Family Recipes Week” here on Eat Your Heart Out. Earlier this week I shared a recipe for fruitcake cookies – which has been surprisingly well-received, considering the fact that I was afraid the word “fruitcake” might scare off a lot of you. Today I am sharing another old family favorite: date bread.

As with most of my family recipes, this one has a bit of a back story. Apparently this recipe was given to my great-grandmother by a woman who was a professional cook. Now, here’s the thing: she told my great-grandmother that she would only give her the recipe if she promised to keep it a secret.


I’ll admit, I’m taking a risk of my great-grandmother coming back to haunt me by sharing this one with the internet, but I really think this is a great recipe, and one that you should have in your repertoire, especially at the holidays. Much like the fruitcake cookies, this is one of those breads that is good one on day one, better one on day two, and just downright awesome on day three – which means that it is the perfect bread to either make ahead for breakfast or give away to friends and loved ones.

Also…my great-grandmother would have been 112 this year…so I’m guessing that probably means the woman she got the recipe from probably isn’t still around either…which means I’m safe to share, right? (Too depressing? Sorry. Eat a piece of bread and you’ll feel better.)

Date Bread

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  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg divided
  • 1 cup pitted chopped dates
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x4 or 9x5-inch loaf pan; set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine the dates, baking soda and boiling water. Set aside to cool.
  • In a large bowl, cream brown sugar with the egg yolk. Add the cooled date mixture; stir to combine. Add salt, flour and pecans.
  • Whip the egg white to stiff peaks; gently fold into batter. Sprinkle baking powder over the batter and fold to combine. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan before turning out onto a cooling rack. Prior to serving, dust the top with powdered sugar, if desired.
  • Will last for several days, well wrapped, at room temperature. (Or freeze for a few months.)


1 loaf
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!



  1. Did you know that any form of quickbread is one of my favorite treats? A thick slice of this bread with some melted butter and a mug of tea would put an ear-reaching grin all over my face! I’ve never tried date bread and I adore baking with dates, so this bread looks just perfect, festive and cozy! I’m all over it!

  2. I like the powdered sugar on top! Ma-Ma wouldn’t have cared one bit. She would have been thrilled that you are sharing so many of her recipes. This is one of my favorites. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I will admit to you the line about the lady that gave your Ma Ma this recipe no longer being with us definitely made me LOL. I am so happy we have the same sense of humor. This bread would be a huge hit with my Gma. Maybe part of her Christmas present…

  4. I really enjoy how you write. I’m pretty sure I would enjoy the date bread too. I’ll have to tell your great grandmother’s granddaughter.

  5. I am not going to tell on you but I am still around and I so remember this from Mrs. Savage and often wondered where I could get the recipe. I think this recipe came from Mrs. Savage’s mother in McComb. Am I right?
    I am so enjoying living the past through you and your Mother.

    1. Well now you have it! I’m glad I shared it then ๐Ÿ™‚

      And I’m not sure where exactly it came from. My momma might know, she is the one who tends to remember those details well.

    2. I don’t know. She always said it was a lady that had a restaurant, or maybe a tea room type place (?), but was very well known and a friend of hers. Anyway, Ma-Ma talked her into giving her the recipe, but on the promise that she wouldn’t share. Well, she didn’t share, right? ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s so very, very good! I hope you make it this Christmas and have lots of happy memories of my grandparents while you enjoy it with a cup of coffee.

    1. Did we get it for finals one year? See, there were multiple reasons to be my friend. Being well fed at finals time was a big one. Wishing I had a loaf and you sitting with me enjoying it with a cup of coffee. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. You have had me very concerned, not seeing a post of yours for a week or so. Happy you are back. I am an original north person. I love fruitcake, not many do.

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