Old-Fashioned Date and Nut Bread, Sparrows and Poppies

I ran across an idea for a simple date and nut bread, made with a mix and sprinkled with wheat germ for a nubby, wheaty looking crust. I was surprised at my local grocery store to find that they no longer sold a mix for date bread–it’s passé! Oh, well. So I got out my old copy of Fanny Farmer, tinkered slightly with her impeccable Date and Nut Bread recipe by lowering the sugar, sprinkling with the wheat germ and changing the pan size, and came up with the above. While Miss Farmer counseled to “make the bread the day before it is to be used, to make neat slices,” I couldn’t wait that long and had a slice. Okay, two slices. It was delish. Lowering the sugar allows the toasty, date-filled flavor to come through, and the wheat germ dresses up the crust nicely.

Old-Fashioned Date and Nut Bread

IMG_9150Mix in a bowl:
1 cup chopped dates
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup boiling water
Stir until the butter melts. Cool.

Stir in:
1 egg, well beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 tablespoon wheat germ for sprinkling on top

Scrape batter into a buttered 8 x 4″ loaf pan, sprinkle with the wheat germ, and bake for about 50 minutes at 350 degrees. I also cut two dates in half, lengthwise, and decorated the top of the loaf with them.

Note: Buy whole dates and chop them–pre-chopped dates are coated with sugar. This bread cuts nicely, and would be perfect for a picnic. It has an even, moist texture. The original recipe said to let the filled pan sit for 20 minutes before placing in the oven to start the action of the baking soda. This is a new one on me. However, I did it, and the bread turned out beautifully.

Meanwhile, sparrows have been patrolling the arbor by the back porch, scolding our elderly cats when they dare to poke their nose into the fresh air.

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My perennial poppy has been putting on quite a display–it’s a drama queen! The plant is at least 25 years old–that’s what I call a perennial.

Poppy buds
Poppy buds

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IMG_9136Two new blossoms have appeared!

IMG_9154One more sparrow.

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Last night’s moon. Namaste. Fran

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11 thoughts on “Old-Fashioned Date and Nut Bread, Sparrows and Poppies

  1. This isn’t an opium poppy, though opium poppies have long been grown in American cottage gardens. Opium poppies are called Papavar somniferum. You can get their seeds on line. The poppy shown is Papavar orientale, the oriental poppy. So now you’ve had a poppy lesson! Fran

  2. Oh, I love poppies! Every year, I promise myself to do some from seed and then I don’t. Love the sparrow – I wish our birds would boldly scold our outside kitties. I think kitties got one too many birds though and birds are scared to death!

    1. Hey, Sherri! Sparrows seem like pretty tough customers–I think I saw one with a cigarette hanging from his beak. And our cats are pretty meek. It’s all interesting! Fran

  3. I love your blog! I especially love the birds (I’m a bird fan), but that poppy is stunning. And your photography is great! AND your clever narrative adds to the fun.

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