When we inherited our home from my grandparents, we inherited THINGS and not just a house.
an antique desk
a WWII shell
Royal Albert bone china from England
a hall tree
a staircase finial for a staircase that doesn’t exist anymore
Van Briggle pottery
and a recipe box.
While the WWII shell is the most mysterious thing we inherited…how did Grandpa get that thing home from the South Pacific? I guess anything was possible in a pre- TSA world…The item that brings the Man-Farmer the most joy is my Grandmother’s recipe box. And one recipe out of all of the oleo and lard infused delights has really stuck with him.
The recipe for Georgia Brown Bread.
I have no idea where my Grandmother got this recipe from nor do I know why it’s named after either the state or a gal named after a state. Or is it named for the Eurasian country? I have no idea. When doing a search online for Georgia Brown Bread I found absolutely nothing.
On the world-wide web!
Man-Farmer found recipes online for breads with similar ingredients.
But, nothing under the name Georgia Brown Bread.
I found recipes for Boston Brown Bread.
But those use molasses and rye flour while the recipe for Georgia Brown Bread contains none of that.
What it does use is dates.
Dates soaked in hot water.
Now, Man-farmer has many talents.
Besides being a metal detectorist (ugh!) and being able to watch bad B horror movies for hours on end, he has food skills.
Like, he went to culinary school and knows some shit about why ingredients do what they do in recipes.
He told me that the Georgia Brown Bread gets its brown color from the dates soaking in the hot water.
I had no idea.
He has made this recipe a few times.
My mom has this recipe as well and has made it before.
The really unique part about making Georgia Brown Bread and the thing that intrigued Man-Farmer the most, thus encouraging him to bake it was…
the baking vessel is cans.
Cans that used to hold pinto beans or sliced carrots.
Cans that you were going to put into the recycling bin (you do recycle don’t you?!) can be thoroughly rinsed out and a beautiful bread can come out of them.
So, without further ado, I give you my Grandmother Dorothy’s recipe for Georgia Brown Bread. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. I have altered the “telling” of the recipe a bit from the original recipe card for user ease. Be sure to slather each piece with plenty of butter. I’m not talking about a margarine spread or some other You Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter crap. I’m talking REAL Butter. Salted butter. Okay? Thanks.
Georgia Brown Bread
4 pre-washed cans (the recipe calls for #2 cans…we always use emptied out vegetable cans)
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoon butter (unsalted)
2 cups white sugar
1 cup dates (whole or chopped)
2 cups boiling water
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (we usually use walnuts)
Cut up dates (if not using chopped dates) and place in a large heat-proof mixing bowl.
Sprinkle dates with baking soda and pour boiling water over them. Set aside to cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar.
Add eggs one at a time followed by the flour (make sure you turn the mixer down to low speed when adding the flour!), salt, and vanilla. Combine thoroughly.
With the mixer on low again, add the nuts and the contents of the cooled dates bowl.
Mix until combined.
Fill the cans 1/2 full of batter and cook in a 350° oven for about 50 minutes.
Cool cans on a wire rack and remove bread gently from cans once cooled.