date nut bread

22 December is date nut bread day. Image: Pixabay

Let’s get baking – it’s Date Nut Bread Day!

Date Nut Bread Day is observed on 22 December; we have a look at the history behind this day and give you a recipe to try at home

date nut bread

22 December is date nut bread day. Image: Pixabay

The holiday season is also a time for sweet treats and lots of baking; on 22 December, we celebrate Date Nut Bread Day!

The history of Date Nut Bread Day

Dates are a popular fruit that has been around for a long time.

In fact, they appear to have been first cultivated in Egypt around 4000 BC.

This fruit’s English name is derived from the Greek word dáchtylo, which means “finger,” presumably due to its shape.

Date bread recipes appear to have been published in the 1930s, but fruited bread was also known in earlier centuries and in many different parts of the world.

This date bread recipe was first recorded in Britain in 1939 and quickly became a favorite to make in the winter, especially around holidays like Christmas or New Year’s.

Despite evidence that the day has been celebrated for years, no one seems to know who decided that this fruity bread should have its own day.

And because this day falls right in the middle of winter (at least in the northern hemisphere), everyone can enjoy a warm slice of this bread with a hot beverage.

Make some date nut bread at home

Date nut bread isn’t typically enjoyed in South Africa, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot indulge in this sweet treat.

Here is how to make it at home:


  • 2 cups of chopped dates
  • 4 tablespoons of softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup light brown sugar or dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup brewed coffee, hot
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon vodka or brandy, optional; to enhance flavor
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan lightly.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the dates, butter, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar. Pour the hot coffee into the mixing bowl and stir to combine. Allow 15 minutes for the mixture to cool.
  3. Beat in the egg, vanilla, liquor, baking powder, and flour until smooth. Add the walnuts and mix well.
  4. Pour the batter into the pan and gently tap it on the counter to settle it.
  5. To prevent over-browning, bake the bread for 45 to 55 minutes, tenting the loaf gently with foil after 30 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven when a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and an instant-read thermometer reads around 200°F.
  6. After 10 minutes, carefully remove the bread from the pan and place it on a cooling rack to cool. Allow to cool completely before slicing. Wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for a few days; freeze for longer storage.

ALSO READ: Days of the year: It’s short girl appreciation day!