RECIPE: Date & Nut Candy

I have been lucky enough to collect some more handwritten cookbooks from loved ones and friends over the last couple months.

One of my favourites is a small clothbound “Navigating Officer’s Hand Book”, about the size of a small paperback novel, which was clearly “borrowed” and repurposed. 

It belonged to Nellie (née Hinett) Reilly of Cape Breton.  She was born in Chesterfield, England and came to Canada with her father when she was about 11 years old in 1908. 

It’s a collage of recipes taped and glued into the pages. Clippings from newspapers or magazines, handwritten recipes from friends (sometimes attributed), menus for luncheons, with flowers and other colourful clippings cut out of magazines just for their beauty. 

There’s even magazine clippings that contain advice and tips on new modern products that will change your life! There’s a wonderful mix of sweet and savoury recipes from complex Petite Fours to Lamb Navarin. 

The first recipe that caught my eye was Date & Nut Candy. In the original recipe, the instructions say to run the fruit, including coconut, through a meat grinder moistened with fruit juice, or lemon juice. 

I’ve made the recipe with a food processor to make it a little more accessible, but if you have a meat grinder at home, go ahead and try it that way.  If you are a chocoholic like me, you can toss in 2 tablespoons of cocoa and ½ cup chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate to make a chocolate variation. 

For the best ingredients for these energy-packed nibbles, check out South Shore Natural Foods in Bridgewater.  Marjorie and her crew are incredibly helpful and they stock all sorts of organic nuts and dried fruit to make the most delicious candies. I used a silicone mold from Bulk Barn to shape the candies but you can also just roll them into small balls, like chocolate truffles. 

(Photo: Josie Rudderham)

Date & Nut Candy

1 ½  cups dried dates

½ cup raw walnuts or pecans

¼ cup unsweetened coconut

½ teaspoon lemon zest

½ teaspoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the dates, nuts, coconut, lemon  zest and juice, and vanilla.
  2. Pulse the food processor  intermittently until the dates and nuts are ground to a chunky paste and the ingredients are well combined.
  3. Spoon the mixture into a silicone candy mold, pressing firmly to fill the mold and level out the filling.
  4. Press the candies out of the molds and dip the bottom in sesame seeds. Store the candies in an airtight container at room temperature up to two weeks.

Josie Rudderham is a local cookbook author and baker living in West LaHave. She is the co-owner of Cake and Loaf Bakery in Hamilton, Ontario. Her passion for sustainable food and community building led her and her family to the South Shore where they are building Rivercroft Regenerative Farm. She collects old cookbooks and loves to share old recipes rebuilt with local ingredients.


One response to “RECIPE: Date & Nut Candy”

  1. Celia Klemenz

    Happy to see you fixed the editing error in the ingredients of print edition for this recipe.
    Can’t wait to try it!

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