I’m trying to savor this holiday season, but the days keep slipping away. My job at the catering company is keeping me busy with holiday parties and I’ve been fortunate enough to have a packed calendar in regards to cooking classes. Despite not enough hours in the day, things are good. Well, good except for in my kitchen.
With all this work, I’ve had precious little time to play around in the kitchen this holiday season. There have been no afternoons spent baking cookies and far too few special holiday meals. Which is why when I found myself with a free hour this past weekend, I promptly baked a loaf of cranberry orange bread.
I had my first bite of cranberry orange bread over Thanksgiving. North and I were in Texas with his family and one of his relatives brought a delicious loaf of the bread for the weekend. Its’ tart cranberries and wonderful citrus taste made it a great breakfast before a gluttonous Thanksgiving feast. It was also the perfect bread for winter and I found myself craving it instead of the pumpkin and apple bread that has kept me satiated all fall.
The loaf of bread we enjoyed at Thanksgiving actually came from The Diabetic Gourmet website. You can check out the recipe here and it’s worth baking if you are looking for something a little healthier this holiday season. I chose to adapt it slightly to make it a little more decadent. Yes, that was very naughty of me, but I’ve been so good this holiday season that I know I deserve it. The resulting loaf has a dense crumb and just the right amount of sweetness. It’s hard to stop eating it, but I kept myself to just two slices while we were decorating the tree and have rationed out the remaining loaf to last us the week. Hopefully then I’ll find the time to bake not one, but two more loaves, that maybe, just maybe, will last until Christmas!
Cranberry Orange Bread
Makes 1 (9 x 5 inch) loaf
Beautiful sliced, this bread is excellent toasted with some butter.
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Zest from one orange
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2/3 cup buttermilk* – (see note following recipe)
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1 cup fresh cranberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9″ by 5″ loaf pan with butter.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. If you are using dried buttermilk powder instead of fresh buttermilk, you will sift it with the other dry ingredients at this time. Add the orange zest, orange juice, buttermilk, egg, butter, and vanilla. If using dried buttermilk powder, add 2/3 cup of water at this time. Stir until the ingredients are just combined. Stir in the pecans and cranberries and pour the batter into the greased loaf pan.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
*I always use to buy fresh buttermilk whenever a recipe called for it. However, I quickly became frustrated when I found myself only using a cup or two before the buttermilk spoiled. I was thrilled when I discovered dried buttermilk powder that can be reconstituted using water. It’s not good for drinking, but is great for baking and will last for months if stored in your refrigerator. Most groceries stores carry dried buttermilk powder in the baking aisle.