This Cranberry Date Nut Bread was borne out of my lack of an essential ingredient for one of my mom's old recipes. Every Christmas Mom made dozens of loaves of Apricot Date Nut Bread to give to the postman, the milkman (remember them?), the dry cleaners, teachers, neighbors, and anyone else who might be deserving of a fresh loaf.
With four kids Mom had plenty of hands to cut up the apricots and dates and chop the nuts. So every year we had our assembly line. Margaret, the oldest, was given the job of chopping the nuts because she could use a real knife. Us younger ones used small scissors to cut up the apricots and dates. We might not have been fast, but it was a big help to mom...or was it???
The first time this year that I was making the bread, I realized there were no dried apricots in the pantry, but I had lots of dried cranberries. So I thought, "why not?" And am I glad I did! I like the bread better with cranberries because the tartness is a nice counterpoint to the sugar in the bread. When eaten warm, the fruit is soft and sugary. Waiting until the bread cools (if you can!) you will taste more of the nuts.
If you've never given homemade goodies as a gift before, this Cranberry Date Nut Bread is a good one to start with. One recipe fills four small loaf pans...4 gifts!
Cranberry Date Nut Bread
- 5 ounces dried cranberries,, about 1 cup
- 5 ounces dates, seeded and chopped,, about 1 cup
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chopped walnuts, , or nut of your choice
- 1 egg
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla
- Put the cranberries and dates in a medium bowl and pour the boiling water over all. Let sit for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 325°F
- Grease and flour one 9"x5"x3" loaf pan or 4 small loaf pans (5½"x3"x2").
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, soda, and salt.
- Add the nuts to the flour mixture and toss to coat.
- Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl and then mix in the oil and vanilla.
- Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture.
- Then pour the water with the cranberries and dates into the flour mixture and stir until well combined.
- Pour into the prepared loaf pan or divide evenly between 4 small loaf pans.
- Bake one large loaf for 45 to 60 minutes. The small loaf pans will take from 25 to 35 minutes.Bread is done when a pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and cool on rack for 8 minutes. Then remove from pans.
- And enjoy!