It’s that time of year again. I know this sounds silly but I get a little wave of excitement every time I see bags of cranberries in the grocery store for the first time. To me it’s heralding the holiday season, my favorite time of year.
Immediately my thoughts go to making a cranberry bread. It’s tradition, sort of like making Christmas cookies every year. And each year I fiddle with the recipe a little but I think I’ve got it down to something I really like.
I love the tartness of cranberries and when you combine them with orange juice, orange zest, nuts and all the other regular cast of characters you have in a sweet bread loaf that’s simply heaven. So let’s talk cranberry nut bread…
Lesson Learned 1 – Process the cranberries in a mini food processor: In my estimation this is the quickest way to get the job done with minimal mess. I pulse the cranberries so that I can get some nice sized chunks. You don’t want to pulverize them, that would defeat the purpose of the bread. The pictures below show how I processed them.
Lesson Learned 2 – Use the zest of 1 medium sized orange: I’ve seen different amounts of zest called for in various recipes and I just made it easy and said use the zest of one medium sized orange. That will render a generous table spoon which noticeably adds flavor to the bread. Quit fooling around with measuring spoons on this one. Just use one orange!
Lesson Learned 3 – I adjusted the leavening in my recipe: Again after looking at several recipes I adjusted the leavening (baking powder and soda) for high altitude. I will give you the amounts I used and also the recommended amounts that I saw on various recipes for sea level. As you can see from the pictures my bread turned out great with no cave-in in the middle (which is a result of too much leavening at high altitude). Those of you at sea level – just use the “normal” amounts I listed.
And that’s it. This is one of my all-time Fall classics. I make it every year when cranberries arrive at the grocery store. I hope you enjoy it and please, let me know what you think…
Scrumptious Cranberry Nut Bread...
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder (1 tsp. high altitude)
1/2 tsp. baking soda (1/4 tsp. high altitude)
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup orange juice
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
Zest of one medium sized orange
1 egg, room temperature, beaten
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan. In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
In another bowl combine orange juice, oil, zest and egg. Pour into the flour mixture and stir until combined. Fold in the cranberries and nuts until they are all throughout the batter.
Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove the loaf from the pan and cool completely.