My Aunt Rose was a sensational cook and baker. She loved to visit unexpectedly, but she was always welcome -- and always brought a freshly baked loaf of this bread. Although raisins were usually substituted for dates, in our family it was always called date and nut bread. Cream cheese is delicious on this bread. At the inn, we serve it at breakfast made up into miniature sandwiches. The Inn at Manchester, Manchester, Vermont
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup boiling water
1 cup chopped dates or raisins
1 tablespoon shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Dissolve the baking soda in the boiling water, add the dates or raisins, and let soak for half an hour.
Cream the shortening and sugar. Add the egg, vanilla, cocoa, and date or raisin mixture. Blend in the flour, then add the nuts.
Pour the batter into a greased and floured 9x5-inch loaf pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 to 55 minutes.