Every Christmas, my mom loved to make this date and marshmallow log that she called Holiday Date Roll. This old-fashioned date roll recipe is a delicious Christmastime candy and is simple to prepare.
I have seen other similar date roll recipes that include nuts, but I don't recall my mom using them. She used marshmallows, dates, graham crackers, a bit of cream, and a light dusting of powdered sugar. Yum!
Even though this recipe is simple to make, it does take a bit of time. After the rolls are made, set them in the refrigerator overnight before serving. This helps give the ingredients time to bind together.
Table of contents
I loved to help make this Holiday Date Roll when I was young. Mom would put the ingredients in a big bowl and let my brother and I use our hands to squish everything together.
Remember, dates are sticky. This recipe can get a little messy. But that is half the fun.
- Mini-marshmallows - If you use large marshmallows, cut them into small pieces.
- Chopped dates - Remove the pits and chop the dates into small pieces, about the size of the mini marshmallows.
- Crushed graham crackers - You can use a food processor or put them in a Zip-loc bag and crush them with a rolling pin. This recipe will need about 16 - 18 graham crackers.
- Water - The water will need to be hot.
- Cream - You can use cream or half 'n half.
- Powdered sugar - Only a small amount of powdered sugar is needed to dust the rolls in the final step of this recipe.
See the printable recipe card below for ingredient amounts and complete directions on making this holiday treat.
Step 1 - Put the chopped dates in a bowl (or measuring cup as shown) and add hot water. Stir well.
Put the marshmallows in a bowl and add the cream. Stir well. Let these ingredients set for several minutes.
The liquid will pretty much be soaked up into the dates and marshmallows.
Step 2 - Put the marshmallows that have been in cream, the dates soaked in water, and most of the graham crackers in a large bowl. Reserve ¼ cup of the graham crackers for later. Mix this well.
You may want to use your hands, like when you make meatloaf. This is something that the kids might enjoy doing to help with this recipe.
Step 3 - Put out a piece of wax paper or parchment paper. Sprinkle the parchment paper with the graham cracker crumbs that were reserved earlier.
Step 4 - Form the date mixture into one large or two smaller logs. Roll them into the graham crackers and shape them the best you can.
Step 5 - Use some plastic wrap and tightly wrap the date roll/s. You can continue to shape the rolls once they are wrapped in plastic.
Refrigerate the date rolls overnight.
Step 6 -Remove the date candy roll from the plastic and dust lightly with powdered sugar. You can now slice and serve the Holiday Date Roll.
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Faq's and tips
I love Medjool dates! They are the kind I usually use.
Letting the rolls set overnight is how my mom wrote the recipe and how I have always done it. I think the roll would be a little bit harder to handle and may not slice as well if you were to cut into it immediately.
I don't see any problem with reducing the size of this recipe.
Store the date roll in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap.
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Holiday Date Roll
- 1 ¾ cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
- 1 lb. Medjool Dates pitted and cut into small pieces
- 3 cups Marshmallows mini
- 3 tablespoons Cream or half 'n half
- 3 tablespoons Hot Water
- ¼ cup Powdered Sugar
- Remove the pits from the dates if needed. Chop the dates into small bite-size pieces.
- Put the chopped dates in a bowl and add hot water. Stir well.
- Put the marshmallows in a bowl and add the cream. Stir well.
- Let the dates and marshmallows set for several minutes. The liquid will be pretty much soaked up into the dates and marshmallows.
- Crush the graham crackers with a food processor or place them in a Zip-loc bag and use a rolling pin.
- Reserve ¼ cup of the graham crackers for later.
- Put 1 ½ cups of the graham crackers in a large bowl. Add the marshmallows soaked in cream and the dates that were soaked in water. Mix this together well.
- Put out a piece of wax paper or parchment paper. Sprinkle the paper with the graham cracker crumbs that were reserved from earlier.
- Form the date mixture into one large or two smaller logs. Roll them into the graham crackers and shape them the best you can.
- Use some plastic wrap and tightly wrap the roll/s. You can continue to shape the rolls once they are wrapped in the plastic. Refrigerate the rolls over night.
- Remove the rolls from the plastic and dust lightly with powdered sugar. You can now slice and serve the Holiday Date Roll.
- Store the old-fashioned date roll in the refrigerator covered in plastic wrap.
My mother added red and green cherries and walnuts, and rolled the logs in fine coconut.
How long can these be stored in the fridge?
I have kept date roll in the refrigerator and snacked on it for a couple of weeks. Of course, if it appears to show signs of spoilage, discard it.
Just finished making this! So excited to find this recipe. My grandmother used to make something very similar--she called it "ice box cake." Looking forward to sharing it with my kids and grandkids.
Except for the powdered sugar this is almost exactly my family recipe from over 100 years ago. I lie adding the powdered sugar coat. That would stop the messy outside. We always served with a dollop of whipped cream on top of a slice. make it your own with holiday candied fruits and you can even make it into a quick no bake fruit cake roll.
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Thank you for the comment. I love old family recipes. My mom made this date roll since way before I was born!
This is a family favorite. It came from my sisters mother’s family. Dad had my mom make it. Since they have all passed, my Sis makes it to share. Our recipe is a little different as we add candied Ted and green cherries, candied pineapple. It’s wonderful and very colorful just like Christmas.
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