Childhood Christmas Candy Memories: Date Nut Roll

Date nut roll was the candy confection my Aunt Sis’s open house at the holidays was known for.


Gingerbread House

Making Christmas candy was an integral part of the festivities, and date nut roll still says Christmas to me.

vintage Christmas candy Country Living

Aunt Sis’s Date Nut Roll


3 cups granulated sugar

1 cup evaporated milk

1 cup chopped dates

1 cup chopped nuts


Combine sugar and milk in a large sauce pan.  Using a wooden spoon, cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly.


When sugar is dissolved, add dates in thirds.

Continue to cook, stirring constantly until mixture forms a soft ball in cool water.  Remove from heat.

Add nuts, whipping mixture by hand with spoon until it begins to thicken.


Place an unfolded clean, cold, damp cloth onto a baking sheet. Spread mixture into cloth.

***Use caution- candy mixture is very hot!***

Roll up and wrap ends of cloth over.

Allow roll to sweat for approximately 3 hours or until firm.


Remove from cloth; slice as desired.

Wrap in waxed paper and store in refrigerator to keep moist.





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4 thoughts on “Childhood Christmas Candy Memories: Date Nut Roll”

  1. My mother and I were discussing this recipe yesterday, debating on rather to fix it this holiday season or not. The memories make it well worth adding to the goodies list. Do you have your Grandma Schafer’s recipe?

  2. Christmas is over but still thinking of days gone by. My momma made this candy every year to share with friends. I remember it being repeated over & over until she got it right! I only tried once. I found it difficult as well. The problem being the cooking process. Too long & it falls apart, not long enough it is sticky. I’m going to try once more using a candy thermometer. Hopefully it will turn out the first time. I still have her hand written recipe!

    Thanks for the memories.

  3. Thank you so much, Regina, for sharing your memory with me! You’re right- this candy is not the easiest candy to make and timing is crucial in the process. I made it again last Christmas and swore that would be the last time. I held true this Christmas and I missed having this candy (as did my guests!) out on the buffet. Please let me know how it turns out and if you see a huge difference in the making process using a candy thermometer. Happy New Year!

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