Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Apricot Nut Bread

One of my favorite things to bake (and eat) for the holidays is my Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Apricot Nut Bread.

Grandmas Old Fashioned Apricot Nut Bread Cover

For me, it is like spending a little time with Grandma – even though she’s been gone for 20 years now.  The smells that fill the house… using her recipe card – complete with stains from baking episodes past… using her old tin measuring cup, snipping apricots, chopping nuts…  To me, the holidays aren’t truly here until I make Grandma’s Apricot Nut Bread and spend a little time with her through this ritual.

When I was young, I spent Christmas vacations (and every other moment I could) with Grandma.  We spent a lot of our time together in the kitchen.  While we were cooking or baking, Grandma would tell me stories about her childhood.  It was sadly a pretty short one, because she had to become Mama to her baby brothers at only 9 years old when her mom died at a devastatingly early age.  We would talk about her early married life with outhouses, coal furnaces, and washboards.  And some of my favorite stories, especially when I was young, were the ones she would tell about me when I was a baby and how she danced in the hospital hallway with the doctor after I was born and how she fed me her homemade chicken soup on my first day home.

We laughed while we worked, and I never felt so loved.

One of the things Grandma made every year was Apricot Nut Bread.  Growing up, it really wasn’t my favorite.  I much preferred the lady locks or nut horns or nut roll – even the chocolate chip cookies.  This bread is not overly sweet.  It is not overly moist.  But as an adult, it has become my absolute favorite.  A slice with a swirl of creamy salted butter or a schmear of rich cream cheese and a cup of coffee might just be my favorite way to start the day.

This weekend, I made my annual batch of Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Apricot Nut Bread.

I started with some dried apricots, which I snipped with scissors into large chunks.  (I cut most of the apricots into fourths.)  Sharp kitchen shears work much better than a knife given the stickiness of the apricots while cutting.  And – it’s how Grandma did it…

Grandmas Old Fashioned Apricot Nut Bread 1After the apricots are coarsely snipped, they are placed in a bowl of hot water to further plump and soften.  Equal parts of apricots and water are used.

Grandmas Old Fashioned Apricot Nut Bread 2The dry ingredients are mixed together next in a separate bowl:  flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Grandmas Old Fashioned Apricot Nut Bread 3In a third bowl, eggs are beaten, and sugar is added.

Grandmas Old Fashioned Apricot Nut Bread 4Next is time to coarsely chop some walnuts – 1 cup per batch (unless you are my son, Nick – then no nuts are added!)

Grandmas Old Fashioned Apricot Nut Bread 5To combine everything, alternately add the apricots with water and egg/sugar mixture to the dry ingredient bowl.

Grandmas Old Fashioned Apricot Nut Bread 6At this point, you could place the batter in your greased and floured bread pans if you are not adding nuts.

Grandmas Old Fashioned Apricot Nut Bread 7Or gently fold in the nuts.

Grandmas Old Fashioned Apricot Nut Bread 8It is important to thoroughly grease and flour your bread pans.  I use a paper towel to generously smear Crisco into every corner and crevice of the pan and then dust thoroughly with four.  If done well, the bread will roll right out when you tip the pans once out of the oven.

Grandmas Old Fashioned Apricot Nut Bread 9You can use a number of small bread pans or one large bread pan for a single recipe.  I tripled the recipe this weekend and made eight smaller loaves.

Grandmas Old Fashioned Apricot Nut Bread 10I fill them about 3/4 full to get a nicely risen loaf.

Grandmas Old Fashioned Apricot Nut Bread 11Baking time varies depending on the size of the loaf, so watch carefully and check with a toothpick.  If you insert a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean, the bread is done.

Grandmas Old Fashioned Apricot Nut Bread 12I immediately pop them out out of the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.  These loaves freeze beautifully if wrapped in saran wrap and foil or in freezer Ziploc bags.

Grandmas Old Fashioned Apricot Nut Bread LastSlice and serve warm or cold and with or without butter or cream cheese.  In my opinion, this is best served as breakfast or brunch fare with a steaming cup of coffee (with Italian Sweet Cream of course!).  Sometimes we even toast a slice of it, and then the edges are crisp and the center is warm and gooey and the butter just melts into it.

Here is Grandma’s well-loved and stained recipe card:

Grandmas Old Fashioned Apricot Nut Bread Recipe Card 1jpgI remember typing these on index cards for Grandma as a young girl.  I wish I had more of her handwritten copies, but they are long gone…

Grandmas Old Fashioned Apricot Nut Bread Recipe Card 2

Some beloved people and possessions in our lives may no longer be around, but memories can never be erased or replaced.

May cherished memories of your loved ones and holidays past fill you with warmth and happiness.

Here is the recipe for you to try:

Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Apricot Nut Bread

Mix together 1 cup chopped apricots and 1 cup boiling water.  Let stand until the rest of the ingredients are ready.

In another bowl, beat two eggs and gradually add 1 cup of sugar.

In a third large bowl, stir together:

2-3/4 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Add the first two mixtures to the dry ingredients – alternating as you incorporate.  Fold in chopped nuts.

Bake one large loaf at 375 degrees F for approximately 50 minutes, then 350 degrees F for 25 additional minutes.

For smaller loaves, bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes.

I hope you enjoy.

Cheers & Nostalgic Hugs,

Jodi

42 thoughts on “Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Apricot Nut Bread

  1. Not only does the bread look yummy but your memories of your grandmother are the loveliest. Reading you, i have realised so much bonding can happen over preparation of food. You are an expert here-with your grandmother, your mother in law, sister in law, daughter in law…

    Like

    • What a kind and sweet comment. Thank you! It is true – so many of my memories revolve around food preparation. It is a time together to focus on each other without so many other outside distractions. Food preparation and meal time seem to always be the times of best conversation. 🙂 Thanks for reading and for sharing these encouraging comments.

      Like

  2. Good morning! (Yes, it is 4:40 am- Haha!) I love the photos you take of the food you prepare, they are beautiful! These bread loaves look delicious! This is yet another recipe of yours I will be putting in my file! While I was reading this I was visualizing you and your grandmother in the kitchen baking together. (I just imagined what she might look like). I have so many wonderful memories of my beloved grandmother too and I do have a few handwritten recipes of hers. (They are much cherished!) I miss her as I am sure you miss your grandmother. Anything that can make me feel closer to her is a good day! ~Hugs!

    Like

    • Thanks PJ! If you want to see what Grandma looked like to see if matches how you imagined her – there are a few photos of her on the post that I linked to here: https://lifeinbetween.me/2014/05/29/stella-star-remembering-grandma/. She was never a frail, white haired grandma. Always a “sturdier” round faced, twinkly -eyed with salt and pepper hair kinda grandma. I think I resemble her in many ways – sturdy frame (LOL!) round face (ugh!), matching noses and mouths, and now my hair is becoming “sprinkled” with salt….

      I’m glad you have similar happy memories with your grandma, and that this brought you closer to her for a “good day!” Hugs back my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My grandmother was a cook! Then she got sick and could not cook anymore. But she still wanted to cook… I will never foget this day as I walked up to her and said, “Grandma, give me your recipes – I promise to bake in your place!”. I did it for her! She passed away 11 years ago. I’m so happy for a big thick notebook full of recipes in here handwritting!!! That’s big for me!

    Like

  4. How very familiar this all is to me. My American grandmother, Helen, who lived in Minnesota was like your Stella, I think. I simply adored her. One of my most cherished recipes is hers for Cranberry-Orange Nut Bread. Written in her hand, it looks identical to yours for the apricot bread, browned and spattered. I hope they both know that we continue to celebrate their legacy through remembering them and making their prized old recipes in their honor. XXX

    Like

    • Awh! I will have to try that recipe Barbara. I believe you posted it a while back – or at least talked about making it if I recall… I so wish I hadn’t typed my grandma’s recipes and still had her originals. Only a few, and boy are they cryptic – LOL! I sure hope our grandmas feel our love and are proud of the way we carry on their legacy too! Hope your escapades in the kitchen went better today than Pillsbury baking day?!?! Long, busy work day for me, but lots accomplished. Gearing up for a couple weeks off for the holiday after this week. Very excited.

      Like

  5. I don’t bake very often, but this is one recipe I’ll do.
    I kept some birthday cards etc from my precious Nona. Her handwriting was meticulous as she was taught by nuns in Italy. Unfortunately I don’t have any recipes written by hand. We did do a family cookbook and many of her recipes are in there.

    Like

    • Wow – well that is quite the compliment Terry – if this is something that makes you want to bake when you normally don’t! 🙂 Sounds like you have some wonderful Nona memories. Grandmas are sure special! I can’t wait to be one 🙂

      Like

  6. What lovely memories, Jodi! I will always remember my grandma baking her special Date Nut Bread in empty soup cans! My mom carried on the tradition and then shared the recipe with me. It’s such a sweet reminder of where we come from! Thanks for sharing such special nostalgia today! ♡

    Like

    • Dawn – I think my Grandma made that too!!! Now that you mention it, it brings back that memory! It makes a fun round loaf with indented rings – right? Yum! Hope you’ll share the recipe and memories with us all. Thanks for reading, Dawn, and taking the time to comment. It means so much to me!

      Like

  7. This post is so heart-warming…reminds of the times I spent with my Baba! The apricot nut bread looks delicious, I can’t wait to try it!
    Jodi, your blog is just wonderful…it comes from the heart my friend…and means so much to those of us who read it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, feelings and of course your recipes!
    Have a blest day,
    Char

    Like

    • Wow – thanks for making my day Char! Makes my time spent on it worthwhile. 🙂 I love when people that read it feel the power and emotions I hope you realize go into it. Hope you will try it and love it. Not sure if it tastes as good without the memories, so you’ll have to let me know 🙂 Hugs my friend!

      Like

  8. Oh my, how wonderful that looks, Jodi! I bet it tastes all the sweeter thinking of your grandma. My grandma washed every dish before we loaded it on Thanksgiving day even though she could not see much of anything on the plates- her eyes are failing but she is sharp as a tack in her nineties. I love her fried potatoes!

    Like

  9. Pingback: Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Apricot Nut Bread | life in between

  10. I would like to try your recipe. But I have a question. You always mention “cup” as measure in your recipes. As I’m French, I’m not familiar with that. In France, we use the weigth or the volume to tell the quantities of ingredients. Could you explain or help me to find out what quantity or volume is a “cup” ?
    Thanks a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Creative Inspiration in Food, Watercolor, Photography, Writing and Life in Between.

  12. Pingback: Creative Inspiration in Food, Watercolor, Photography, Writing and Life in Between.

I love hearing from you - hope you'll drop me a line

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s