Cranberries are my favorite fall fruit. Hands down, no contest. I think it’s because I can only find them fresh for a few months out of the year. I mean, sure, an apple is fine – especially if you’ve got a gooey bowl of caramel nearby for dipping – but I can get that any day. Cranberries, they’re special.
They can be simmered with some shallots, butter, and a handful of other ingredients for a fantastic sauce to adorn a pork tenderloin. They can be simmered with some orange juice and fresh ginger to make a not-from-a-can Thanksgiving Day side. Or my favorite, they can be baked into a ridiculously moist muffin, cake, or bread so that the juicy red berries burst in the oven and soak into the surrounding batter.
Whew, perhaps we should get a room!
I’ve been baking my friend Kelly’s recipe for Cranberry bread for a few weeks now. I included a loaf for each of my shower hostesses in their goodie baskets. My sister asked for the recipe. My mom heard the bread was good – she had to take my dad’s word for it, though. He found the goodie basket and made quick work of the cranberry bread.
It’s great straight out of the oven, an hour past bedtime. It’s great cold for breakfast. It’s also great – no, it’s awesome – warmed and topped with a scoop of Blue Bell’s Homemade Vanilla.
Cranberry Pecan Bread
A moist, festive holiday bread studded with tart fresh cranberries, pecans, and orange zest.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 Tbsp shortening
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 1 Tbsp orange zest
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cup cranberries
- 3/4 cups pecans, chopped and toasted
- 1/4 cup coarse sugar
- Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 (or 10) x 5 loaf pan (or 4 mini loaf pans).
- Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in the bowl of your stand mixer. Turn on medium and add shortening until combined.
- Add orange juice, orange zest, and egg. Mix until well-blended.
- Stir in cranberries and nuts.
- Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Spread coarse sugar evenly over the top.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes for 1 large loaf, ~40-45 minutes for small loaves, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
- Remove the bread from the pan and let cool completely. Wrap the cooled loaf tightly with plastic wrap or foil to keep it moist.
Yields: 1 loaf or 4 mini loaves
Estimated time: 1 hour 15 minutes