So after making my pumpkin cream cheese sweet bread I had some leftover pumpkin puree. Since I didn’t want to waste it and the sweet bread was such a big hit I thought I’d try making another type of sweet bread using the leftovers.
What I like about this bread is it combines some of my favorite Fall flavors – pumpkin, cranberry and orange. Then you throw in a little chopped pecans and you’re in sweet bread heaven.
So let’s talk some pumpkin cranberry nut bread…
Lesson Learned 1 – Plump the dried cranberries for even more flavor: I had a bag of cooking and baking julienne sliced cranberries and I was able to give them an extra body and boost by soaking them in warm fresh orange juice. Yum!
In a microwavable bowl I just poured the juice of one large orange over a half cup of the cranberries, put plastic wrap over the bowl, slit the wrap to vent and heated the mixture for 45 seconds. Then I let the mixture sit covered in the plastic wrap for at least 5 minutes and voila, plumped cranberries. You may have done this process before with raisins, and it works the same for dried cranberries. Plus it gives the cranberries an extra boost of orange flavor.
Lesson Learned 2 – I adapted this recipe from a muffin recipe: Almost any muffin recipe can be adapted into a sweet bread recipe. You just have to remember to bake it longer. I took the guess work out for you. I started checking the bread at 30 minutes and wound up baking it for an additional 15 minutes, checking the loaf every 5 minutes. My determination is, based on your oven and where you live, the bread should be baked for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Lesson Learned 3 – You don’t need any mixer for this recipe: Just combine the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls, make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix until just combined – don’t over mix. It couldn’t be easier.
This bread is incredibly easy to make. So if you’re looking for a great Fall treat that’s full of flavor and requires hardly any effort on your part, this is the recipe for you! Enjoy!
Pumpkin Cranberry Nut Bread…
1/2 cup dried cranberries (I used cooking and baking cranberries, julienned)
The juice of one large orange
2 cups flour, plus 1 Tbs. for high altitude
2/3 cup granulated sugar, measure slightly less for high altitude
1 Tbs. pumpkin spice blend
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk, you can used reduced fat milk
2 extra large eggs
The zest of one large orange
Preheat your oven to 350. Zest the orange. Cut the orange and juice it. Place the cranberries in a microwavable bowl and pour the orange juice over them. Take plastic wrap and cover the top of the bowl, cutting a small slit in the center to vent the steam. Microwave for 45 seconds. Set aside and let the cranberries steep for at least 5 minutes.
In a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, pumpkin spice blend, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in the chopped pecans. Drain the cranberries and put them in another large bowl. Add the somewhat cooled melted butter (you don’t want the eggs to scramble) the canned pumpkin, milk, eggs and orange zest. Stir until just combined.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the bowl. Mix with a spoon or spatula until just combined.
Spray the bottom and sides of a 9 x 4 loaf pan with cooking spray. Pour the batter into the pan. Smooth the top of the batter with a spatula making sure the batter has reached into all corners and the top is even.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the loaf rest in the loaf pan for 15 minutes then remove it to a wire rack. Cool completely.