Tuesday, November 20, 2012

cranberry bread

Food writing has always captivated me and this started at an early age. There is a wonderful children's book, "Cranberry Thanksgiving", and the writing and illustrations are straightforward and charming. It is a story about a prized cranberry bread recipe and an attempt to steal it by a Thanksgiving day dinner guest.

It is fun as an adult to re-visit children's books and discover plot subtleties that originally escaped you or  to again be mesmerized by the story. Imagine my delight when a few years ago I revisited "Cranberry Thanksgiving" and realized the recipe for the famed cranberry bread is on the last page of the book. 

This is where I feel it is important to pause and say a word about the flavor combination of cranberry and orange. In my opinion, as a result of appearing in too many over processed commercial baked goods, it has been much maligned of late. If you feel the same as me in this regard, I would just ask you to have faith and try this recipe. The use of fresh cranberries is key and their tart sour sweetness are perfect paired with the fresh orange juice/zest in the batter. 

Also, the recipe calls for 11/2 cups raisins and 1 1/2 cups cranberries. I have no faith whatsoever in raisins in my baked goods. As my husband likes to say, "raisin cookies that look like chocolate chip cookies are the main reason I have trust issues." Therefore, I double the cranberries to 3 cups. The recipe says it is okay to do that and I find it is really the only way forward. 

cranberry bread 

2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
3/4 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed)
1 1/2 cups raisins (bleh)
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped

1) Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl.

2) Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add egg, orange peel, and orange juice all at once; stir just until mixture is evenly moist. Fold in raisins or cranberries.

3) Spoon into a greased 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack.

If you choose, you may substitute cranberries for the raisins and have an all cranberry bread.

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