Monday, November 26, 2012

Cranberry Orange Bread

We had plans for our ex-pat Thanksgiving this past week. We were going to go to the only decent Mexican place in London for tacos on Thursday. (Nothing more American than good Mexican food.) And then on Saturday we were going to a friend's 25-person pot-luck turkey fete.

Neither happened. Disastrous colds happened, and little guy (and his mommy) were in no state to see or be seen.

Only one thing remotely Thanksgiving-ish happened in our house last week. And that was the baking of my mom's cranberry-orange bread. It's been breakfast the morning of Turkey Day for as long as I can remember. It's delicious with coffee, and it's the perfect way to start a day of over-indulgence. Because how can something stuffed with the antioxidant-queen cranberry be anything but healthy?

Happy belated Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Orange Bread

The original recipe called for the butter to be cut into the flour mixture with knives, like for pie crust. I find the food processor much handier, because it also saves you from hand-chopping many small globe-shaped stain-makers. I also used one large loaf pan and one miniature one, so I am not 100% sure of the baking time for one large loaf. Baking times also will depend on the accuracy of your oven, and whether you use metal or glass pans. (Glass will take longer.)

This is an odd quick-bread recipe. It's almost like someone accidentally dumped their morning OJ into a batch of scones and this was the end result. Happy accident, that. However weird the recipe, this is a loaf worth making. My husband says it's his favorite. (When you're married to a baker this is not something you say lightly!)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup (113 grams) butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tbsp grated orange rind
  • 11 oz (300 grams) cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a large loaf pan.

Put flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a food processor and process until thoroughly combined. Cut butter into a few pieces and add to bowl. Process in several pulses until mixture resembles corn meal. Transfer flour mixture to a large mixing bowl.

Process cranberries until no whole berries remain. (No need to rinse out the food processor from previous step.) Set aside.

Beat egg with a whisk or an egg beater in a small bowl until light and frothy. Add orange juice and rind and whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour this mixture over the flour mixture and gently stir until just combined. Don't worry, the batter is supposed to be thick. (Stop stirring when you can just see a few streaks of the flour mixture.) Gently stir in the cranberries and nuts (if using).

Scoop the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no battery bits.

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