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As the saying goes "2020 was a year unlike any other" and it has been. At Charred Oaks Inn, like many other bed and breakfasts in Kentucky and around the country, part of our "business as usual" was hosting a little afternoon soiree with complimentary wine and beer and refreshments, followed by a homemade dessert each evening in the inn's Living Room where guests could gather and share experiences and life stories with each other. However, COVID-19 presented some new challenges and in keeping with CDC recommendations, we have temporarily suspended the afternoon refreshments and evening desserts in the common rooms. The treats are still being offered, but in a safe and socially distanced manner.

The offerings are now a choice of a three-course "Afternoon Tea Basket" or a "French Picnic Basket" for two (including dessert) delivered to your room or to the terrace (weather permitting). The baskets are available from 3:00PM until 7:00PM (if you are arriving later than 7:00PM, we ask that you make special arrangements with us prior to your arrival). Your choice of beverage includes bubbly, non-alcoholic bubbly, hard cider, Kentucky ale, sodas, etc.

During this holiday season, we have included one of my mom's favorite recipes reserved for company in the Afternoon Tea Basket - Old Fashioned Date Nut Bread; sliced and filled with whipped cream cheese and served with strawberries on the side.

Date-Nut Bread Recipe

PREP 10 mins

BAKE 45 to 55 mins

TOTAL 55 mins

YIELD 1 loaf, about 16 servings


  • 2 cups (227g) chopped dates

  • 4 tablespoons (57g) softened butter

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup (142g to 159g) brown sugar

  • 1 cup (227g) hot brewed coffee

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 tablespoon (14g) vodka or brandy, optional; to enhance flavor

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 3/4 cups (206g) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

  • 1 cup (113g) coarsely chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan.

  2. Place the dates, butter, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Pour the hot coffee into the bowl, stirring to combine. Allow the mixture to cool for 15 minutes.

  3. Add the egg, vanilla, liquor, baking powder, and flour, beating gently until smooth. Stir in the walnuts.

  4. Pour the batter into the pan, gently tapping the pan on the counter to settle the batter.

  5. Bake the bread for 45 to 55 minutes, tenting the loaf gently with foil after 30 minutes, to prevent over-browning. Remove the bread from the oven; a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean, and an instant-read thermometer should read about 200°F.

  6. After 10 minutes, gently turn the bread out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Cool completely before slicing. Wrap airtight, and store at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.


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