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Grandma’s Date Nut Loaves – Baked in Cans

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These yummy date nut loaves are baked in tin cans making them easily giftable. The batter is quick to whip up and they are perfect for breakfast or tea time.

round slices of date nut loaf on plate with can and bread in background.

This quick bread is loaded with chopped dates and walnuts for a delicious combination. You could bake it as a loaf, but it is fun to bake it in emptied tin cans for a retro twist.

You can freeze the extra mini loaves to enjoy at a later date or gift them to family and friends. The round slices are great plane or spread with a little bit of butter or cream cheese.

Origins of this date loaf bread recipe

It appears that date and walnut breads have some origins in Scotland. Though most of those recipes include some tea much like Tea brack.

This particular recipe comes from my husband’s grandma Ruth. She has delivered a round loaf of date nut bread with the tell tale ribs from a can each Christmas and I look forward to it every year.

hand holding round slice of date walnut bread that was baked in a tin can.

It is one of those traditions that I started this blog to help keep alive. I want to be able to pass these cherished recipes to future generations as well.

So I finally asked for the recipe. She not only dropped off the recipe, she also included a special can opener that makes smooth rims on the cans.

That makes cleaning the cans and removing the bread much easier. It took Little Dude and me a second to figure out the crazy equipment, but we were impressed with how it lifted off the lids.

Prepping the cans

Having the special can opener isn’t required, though it is handy. You want at least 5 emptied 14.5 oz cans.

Remove the lids and the paper wrapper. I threw the cans in the dishwasher to get them extra clean, but you can wash them by hand.

can shaped date nut bread cooling on wire rack with cans in background.

You can use the same five cans over and over or start fresh each time. Once the are cleaned, you are ready to start baking!

Making the batter

The actual batter is really easy to make. You soak the chopped dates in hot water to get them big and plump.

For the darker colored Scottish version, use hot tea to soak the dates instead of water. Either way, the results will be delicious.

mixing bowl filled with date and walnut quick bread batter.

You melt a little bit of butter in the hot water as well. That makes stirring in the rest of the ingredients super simple.

I used a bag of chopped dates that were coated in dextrose. That is what grandma uses as well.

If you are using dates without the sugar coating, you may want to add an extra quarter cup or so of sugar. Buying the prechopped dates saves some effort over pitting and chopping the fruit though, so I suggest just buying them that way.

Use an ice cream or large cookie scoop to easily transfer the batter into greased cans. Then put the cans on a cookie sheet and pop them in the oven.

date walnut loaf batter in greased cans ready to bake.

They come out with a dark delicious crust and soft moist interior. Allow them to cool slightly before dumping them out of the can.

Cool them completely and then slice and enjoy!

Enjoying and storing your date nut loaves

Wrap the cooled loaves in plastic wrap for storage or gifting. I gave extra loaves to my brothers and dad and they were a big hit.

Your round loaves of bread will be good at room temperature for about 4 days. Or freeze them for up to three months.

Date nut bread in cans fresh out of the oven.

The bread is best seeved at room temperature or slightly warmed. It has plenty of flavor on its own but is also great with a bit of butter on top.

More recipes from grandma Ruth

Grandma Ruth joked that she just knew she’d see this recipe on Facebook if she shared it with me. Of course she was right.

How could I not share it? It’s delicious and the very idea of it puts a smile on my face every time I think of it.

slices of date nut bread on plate next to loaf of bread and empty tin can.

Besides, the recipes grandma has shared with us in the past have been really popular. So check out a few more of her favorites.

Grandma’s chicken and broccoli casserole is a great way to get dinner on the table quickly.  It is a perfect way to use leftover chicken or turkey as well!

The warm fall flavors of pumpkin, apples and pumpkin pie spice always go so well together. Soft pumpkin apple muffins bring them all together in every tasty bite. 

The sweet, buttery, crunchy caramel corn you love can be done in the microwave to make it faster and easier.  It’s perfect for a snack and fun for a party!

Love this recipe? Give it a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review in the recipe card below!

Yield: 5 Can Sized Loaves

Grandma's Date Nut Loaves - Baked in Cans

slices of date nut bread on plate next to loaf of bread and empty tin can.

These yummy date nut loaves are baked in tin cans making them easily giftable. The batter is quick to whip up and they are perfect for breakfast or tea time.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar*
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease and flour 5 cleaned 15 oz cans. II used the spray with the flour in it.)
  2. Place dates in large bowl. Add boiling water and baking soda.
  3. Stir in the butter until melted. Allow to cool some.
  4. Mix in the vanilla, sugar, salt and eggs. Then add flour, stirring until just combined.
  5. Fold in nuts.
  6. Scoop batter into prepared cans.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool in the cans for 5 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.

Notes

If using dates without dextrose, increase the sugar by 1/4-1/2 cup.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

20

Serving Size:

1/4 Loaf

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 223Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 223mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 2gSugar: 18gProtein: 4g

All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to see it! Share a picture on Instagram or Pinterest and tag me @carleecooks to let me know how it went!

This quick bread is loaded with chopped dates and walnuts for a delicious combination. You could bake it as a loaf, but it is fun to bake it in emptied tin cans for a retro twist.

Share with your friends!

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Julia

Monday 29th of March 2021

This looks so delicious! I've always wanted to try a recipe baked like this.

Carlee

Monday 29th of March 2021

Do it!!!

Sandy

Monday 29th of March 2021

Family recipes are the best! Will you refrain from making it until Christmastime?

Carlee

Monday 29th of March 2021

Probably. Grandma S. is the maker of the bread as long as she wants to be. I just wanted to be able to carry on the tradition when she no longer wants to!

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