Grandpa’s Date Nut Roll

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This Date Nut Roll brings me directly back to my childhood. I remember watching my grandpa roll this on the kitchen counter every holiday when we visited.

Crushed graham crackers, marshmallows, dates, pecans, and a splash of cream: none of these ingredients are remarkable on their own, but when combined they become something special.

Date Nut Roll recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

Date Nut Roll

I can’t recall another occasion for which my grandpa ever worked in the kitchen. However, making the Date Nut Roll was his domain every Christmas. He passed away when I was just ten years old and I hadn’t thought of his Date Nut Roll in years.

When I found this recipe last year and made it for the first time as an adult, it was like I was standing in my grandparents’ kitchen once again.

Some food memories stick with us more than others, and I am so glad I have this one to pass on to my boys.

Date Nut Roll Recipe

  1. Place the graham cracker crumbs, marshmallows, dates, and pecans in a mixing bowl and toss to coat everything in the crumbs.
  2. Slowly add the cream, a couple of tablespoons at a time, stirring to combine. Add liquid just until the mixture is wet enough to hold together when you press it with a spoon.
  3. Spread two large sheets of parchment or wax paper on the counter and divide the mixture on top of them. Press it into a log with your hands and sprinkle lightly with the remaining crumbs to coat all around.
  4. Roll it tightly in the paper, smoothing the shape as you go. Twist the ends tightly and chill until firm, at least 2-6 hours. Slice into pieces with a very sharp knife. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Old Fashioned Date Nut Roll recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

I’m all about easy no-bake treats for some of my holiday treat-making. As much as I love cookies and fancier holiday desserts, sometimes it’s just plain fun to pull together a whole bunch of delicious treats in very little time.

With just a few of these options, you can have platters of Christmas goodies at your fingertips to deliver to friends or share at a party.

I’m not exaggerating when I say this Peanut Butter Fudge is one of the best fudges I’ve ever tasted. Rich, creamy, over-the-top fudge that is so easy to make, you might laugh.

No-Bake Cookies have met their match with these Chocolate Peanut Butter Coconut Bites. It doesn’t get much easier than just stirring everything together and pouring it into a pan.

Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Ritz Cookies are the sweet, salty, chocolatey snack you need in your life. With zero baking required and just three ingredients–chocolate, Ritz crackers, and peanut butter–they’re a perfect last-minute addition to your holiday cookie tray or party menu.

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Grandpa’s Date Nut Roll

5 from 23 votes
Crushed graham crackers, marshmallows, dates, pecans, and a splash of cream: none of these ingredients are remarkable on their own, but when combined they become something special.
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Servings: 20 pieces

Ingredients 

  • 12 full size graham crackers pulsed into crumbs in the blender or food processor, reserve 2 tablespoons for coating
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 2 cups finely chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • ½ – 2/3 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  • Place the graham cracker crumbs, marshmallows, dates, and pecans in a mixing bowl and toss to coat everything in the crumbs. Slowly add the cream, a couple tablespoons at a time, stirring to combine. Add liquid just until the mixture is wet enough to hold together when you press it with a spoon.
  • Spread two large sheets of parchment or wax paper on the counter and divide the mixture on top of them. Press it into a log with your hands and sprinkle lightly with the remaining crumbs to coat all around. Roll it tightly in the paper, smoothing the shape as you go. Twist the ends tightly and chill until firm, at least 2-6 hours. Slice into pieces with a very sharp knife. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

{originally published 9/18/14 – recipe notes updated 11/10/22}

sliced date nut roll

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Anonymous says

    do you know the measurement of the cracker crumbs is??? I have bags of crumbs and don't want to bur a box of crackers. ThANKS

  2. Anonymous says

    This looks like the recipe I've been looking for that my mom made every year for Christmas. She has passed and this is sure to bring back lots of memories!! Thank you

  3. Anonymous says

    Wow! This is almost exactly the same as my grandma's recipe. She uses walnuts instead of pecans. I believe my grandma said her mom made it, as well. I've been trying to find out where the recipe originates from. Is it just an American thing?

    • Mary says

      I love hearing that you have memories of the recipe as well. I have no idea where it originated. My grandfather was making it many years ago and it's become a much loved tradition for our family.

  4. Nina Wisler says

    Date roll is an old recipe and always had whipped cream served on top. My mother made this for holidays as long as I can remember when I was growing up and I am 84. At that time it was 1 pound each. of graham crackers, dates, marshmallows and walnuts. Enough cream to combine and shape into two rolls. We would cut up dates and marshmallows with scissors dipping scissors as needed in cream. (Using regular marshmallows they are stickier and easier to combin rather than mini) years ago there was only walnuts in the shell and had to be shelled that is why it called for a pound. Thi recipe probably went back to the 40’s

    • Mary says

      I love that you are familiar with this recipe! I’ve never met anyone else who had heard of it. Anytime I make it, I’m transported back to my grandfather’s kitchen.

    • Sharon Lee says

      I’m 64 And My Grandmother Made The Date Roll Back As Far As A Young Child Always A Favorite And Tradition A Must For Christmas !
      Ingredients: Use All Of Following…Heavy Cream Only Till Roll Is Moist Real Well Not Wet Then Place On Was Paper To Start Making Roll.
      Heavy Whipping Cream …Till Moist Not Wet
      Chopped Pecans
      Pitted Dates
      Miniature Marshmallows Add 3 Cups
      All Ingredients Combined Using
      Large Pan …Then Place On Wax Make Roll Wrap With Reynolds Wrap Outer Cover For Roll. Refrigerate Several Hrs Cut And Enjoy. Egg Nog Is A Good Drink With This. Enjoy Our Date Roll A Family Tradition.5 stars

  5. Abby says

    Hi,
    Can you clarify what you mean by full size sheets of graham crackers ?
    I really would like to make these for the holidays…
    thanks for any help & advise you can give me

  6. Mary says

    I love that I found this recipe that I have been looking for. My aunt used to make this at Christmas in the early 1950’s, over 60 years ago! I must have been 3 or 4 when she was making it, but it made quite an imprssion on me. It was so good!

  7. Janice says

    Oh my! I am so excited to find this. My mother has passed on also and I do not have her recipe, but was just thinking about trying to recreate it after tasting some delicious dates! Google led me to your site. So glad!

  8. Linda Wofford says

    This was a Holiday treat that my mom made every year. I didn’t find the recipe when cleaning out my moms house. She now has dementia, so getting the recipe from her would be impossible. So glad to have found it here.

    Thank you!

  9. Cherie says

    My Grandma and my Mom both made this as a special Christmas dessert but we always added cut-up, drained green and red marachino cherries.5 stars

  10. Miriam Ross says

    Wow! So many folks remember this recipe! That’s wonderful. I’m 80 and my mom made it every year at Christmas. Great memory. I, too, failed to get the recipe. I know she used some marichino cherries, chopped. Always topped with whipped cream! Enjoyed reading all the comments!

  11. Miriam Ross says

    Wow! This is wonderful! I’m 80 and watching my mom make this every Christmas is a precious memory! She always put marischino cherries . Also using reg. Size marshmellow cur into 1/4s. This makes them stickier and they help hold ingredients together. Thanks so much. Can’t wait to make!5 stars

  12. Jackie Wyatt says

    My grandmother used to make these right after Thanksgiving. She would roll them into a log like what is shown. She would then wrap each log in waxpaper then wrap it again in newspaper. She would store it in cupboard until Christmas. Christmas day she would cut it in 1 inch slices and top each slice with fresh whipped whipping cream. Desert was very rich but oh so good!

  13. Pam says

    I was excited to find this on the internet. My mother made this roll every year around Christmas, I lost the recipe, so now that I have found it I will make them this Christmas.5 stars

  14. Ginny says

    Thank you so much for posting. I’ve been looking for this recipe for years. My mom made it for me every Christmas growing up and when she passed I was unable to find it. I can’t wait to make it this Christmas it will be like being in moms kitchen again. ❤5 stars

  15. Dee says

    I’ve been looking for this recipe for years …my aunt made this when I was little about 55 years ago …..I have such beautiful memories with her and this was one …thank u so much 😊5 stars

  16. Amber Hamm says

    This is the closest recipe I have found to the one I grew up on. We used walnuts instead but we also added the juice of one lemon and some granulated sugar, My kids love it and i am happy to i have gotten to pass it on to them.5 stars

  17. Dave says

    My mom also made this or something very similar, I think hers had cherries in it also , any I too lost the recipe and my mom has since passed away. So thank you I’m going to make it this weekend, I can only hope it’s as great as I remember it . It was my favorite part of Christmas.5 stars