Monday, January 24, 2011

Cranberry Orange Bread

I know that everyone thinks cranberries are only for Thanksgiving through Christmas, but that's simply not true.  Cranberries are a "super food" and are very high in antioxidants and all sorts of other good stuff.  I will not, however, try to pass this Cranberry Orange Bread off as a health food.  I'm just saying, cranberries can be enjoyed year 'round.  Especially if you over-purchased on a huge bag at Sam's Club and are tired of looking at those little ruby gems staring back at you every time you open your freezer.

Since I had an abundance of cranberries, I decided to make a double batch of this delicious quick bread so I could share with others.  It makes a yummy snack or breakfast.  One day, I even packed a slice in Jenna's school lunch and it was her "something sweet."

This recipe comes courtesy of the good folks at Ocean Spray.  I found it on the bag of cranberries and can also be found on the Ocean Spray website with a host of other wonderful recipes incorporating cranberries or cranberry juice.

Cranberry Orange Bread
Here's What You Need:
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup orange juice
2 Tablespoons shortening
1 Tablespoon grated orange peel
1 egg
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped, fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional

Here's What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray the inside of a loaf pan with cooking spray.  In the bowl of your mixer, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.  Add the orange juice, shortening, orange peel and egg.  My cranberries were still frozen so I just scooped them into my little KitchenAid mini chopper and that chore was accomplished in nothing flat!  Fold in the cranberries and the nuts if you are adding them.  Spread the batter evenly into the loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  If you find the top of your loaf of bread is plenty brown but the center of the bread isn't done baking, just loosely drape a piece of foil over it so the bread continues to bake but the top doesn't continue to brown. 

Once it's done, allow the bread to cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, then run a sharp knife along the edges, flip it over carefully and allow the loaf to slide out onto the wire rack to continue cooling.

This bread is delicious when it's warm with a little butter melted on top.  It's equally good plain, as well.  Bread like this reminds me of my high school graduation party.  (I won't say how many years ago!)  One of the foods my Mom and I prepared was quick breads like this, sliced thin, with a thin layer of cream cheese schmeared on and then another slice of bread on top and cut on the diagonal.  If you'd like to try this, I suggest freezing your bread and slicing it while it is still slightly frozen.  Likewise, add the cream cheese while the bread is still rather firm.  This particular bread has a very tender crumb and it would fall apart on you if you tried to do this with room temperature bread.  If you have a little girl in your house, this is perfect for a tea party!

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