Candy/ Dessert

Date Nut Roll

Have a sweet tooth? It’s Halloween, who doesn’t?

If you have never tasted date nut roll you are really missing a sugary treat. It reminds me a lot of pralines but with the sweet dates added to it. The dates pretty much dissolve in the cooking process.

Do you still call your mom (or did you) if you have some cooking question. My mother has been gone for 7 years and my grandmother for almost 4 and I miss calling them with my cooking questions. Even though I could probably have found the answers on the internet, I just wanted to hear how they made a certain favorite of mine like chili and hushpuppies.

When I have questions about candy, I call my mother-in-law. She is known for her divinity and her date nut roll. When she visited last Christmas, we made some date nut roll together and it has taken me almost a year to get around to making it on my own. So, this particular morning I wanted to make it to take to a group of ladies. When I was making it at 8:30 in the morning I wasn’t sure if she was awake or not but decided to call anyway. Of course she was awake, she was getting ready to host bridge at her house. I had to call back 10 minutes later with another question about forming the roll.

When my husband was young this date nut roll was one of his favorites his mother use to make. She would make it for friends and he would always ask her to make an extra one so he could have the whole log to himself. But, today I left him only one piece and took the whole box with me. I felt guilty about that so thinnest day I made him his own date nut roll.

We all need to pass down our family recipes. My niece, Michelle now can make her Mema’s divinity and my sister-in-law, Peggy wants her mom (Mema) to teach her to make date nut roll.

IMG_2918I love this thermometer. I began my married life with a glass bulb type thermometer. When I finally broke that I bought another one then after breaking it decided to go to digital which I didn’t like and finally ended with my favorite Taylor thermometer. Cook the sugar, milk and butter to soft stage.

IMG_2919After syrup has reached soft ball stage, add the chopped dates and continue to cook on medium heat until they start to fall apart. This may take 10-15 minutes. It’s kind of like making pralines. It will get thick like German chocolate frosting and then some. Don’t cook too long or it will turn to a block of sugar. When it has gotten very thick, turn off heat and add the chopped pecans and vanilla extract. Beat with spoon until it starts to firm up.


Use a tea type towel that does not have any fuzzies on it. powder sugar down the middle and almost to the ends. You want the towel that touches the roll to have powdered sugar. After my second call to my MIL she told me that she didn’t dampen the towel unless it started setting up too quickly. So, the second time I made it I used a dry towel with lots of powdered sugar.


Pour or scoop the mixture down the center of the towel, about 2-3″ in width.Roll the powdered sugared towel over the date nut roll and continue to roll forming the log into a long smooth, solid piece. Set aside to cool 15-20 minutes.


After it has cooled long enough that you think you can cut it, cut into 1/3’s and then slice the thickness you want. Put in airtight container.


Mema and me making Date Nut Roll last Christmas.


Date Nut Roll


  • 3 c. sugar
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 8 oz. sticky dates
  • 2 c. pecans
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla


  1. Boil butter, milk, and sugar to soft ball. Add in dates and cook until soft. Take away from stove and beat until cool.
  2. Take a tea towel and spread it out on counter and sprinkle it heavily with powdered sugar. Pour the stiffened candy mixture down the length (center) of the tea towel and using the edge start to roll it up Ito a long about 1 1/2-2" roll. Roll completely up and let set until it hardens then cut into slices.

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  • Reply
    Connie Paynter
    October 31, 2015 at 11:39 am

    This roll is so good. Sherry brought it to our Missions Craft Circle Tuesday and it went like ‘hotcakes!’ Soooo good

  • Reply
    December 22, 2020 at 12:08 pm

    I can never get it without turning it into a block of sugar! I love your picture of the goat! Cute name!

    • Reply
      December 30, 2020 at 10:07 pm

      It took practice for me to get it just right. You can always save it and crumble on ice cream.

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