Cranberry Orange Bread

Cranberry Orange Bread slathered with butter

Cranberry Orange Bread slathered with butter

Have a bag of fresh cranberries still hiding in that freezer? Don’t feel like waiting 11 more months until Christmas comes around again to use them? Then try this recipe for Cranberry Orange Bread.

It’s a long story, but suffice to say we needed to bring a bag of chips something homemade and tasty to our church pot luck. The timing of everyone’s schedule was terribly off so I could not cook or bake anything prior to the event, unless I wanted to start on the Thursday beforehand. Stale food for a pot luck? Not on my watch. Fortunately, number one daughter is home from college and she loves to work in the kitchen. So giving credit where credit is due – this is her version of Cranberry Orange Bread.

It has just a bit more density than a typical banana bread, but is packed with tangy flavor from the berries and the orange zest. Once it has cooled down, remove it from the pan – slice a piece – then slather a tablespoon or two of butter on top,

It’s almost heaven by the slice, I tell you!

Ingredients

2 cups  flour

3/4 cup  sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon  baking powder

3/4 teaspoon  salt

1/2 teaspoon  baking soda

1/4 cup  butter

2 tablespoons  orange zest

3/4 cup  orange juice

1  egg, lightly beaten

1 cup  fresh cranberries, chopped (a few spins in a food processor will do it)

Mixing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients.

Blend in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. (I use a fork for this. I get a better feel for the texture as opposed to using a counter top mixer.)

Stir in the zest, orange juice and egg until just mixed somewhat evenly.

Using a spatula, fold in the chopped cranberries.

Baking

Grease the bottom (only) of a loaf pan.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for one hour. Hint: start checking the bread visually, through the oven window, at about the 45 minute mark. Try to avoid opening the oven door for at least an hour.

HOWEVER – if the top of the bread is looking brown and the edges look like they may be starting to burn crust up, open the door and stick a toothpick in the center. Pull the pick out and see if it is clean. A clean pick means the center is done. If there is batter on the toothpick, and the top is starting to brown, cover the loaf pan with some foil.

And then continue baking. Just make sure to check the bread every ten minutes. It shouldn’t take much longer.

Once the cranberry orange bread is finished baking, let it cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes. Then, take a butter knife (plastic knife would be even better) and carefully run it around the inside edge of the pan, to separate the bread from the pan wall.

Now, invert the pan over a cutting board. if everything goes in your favor – the bread should just fall right onto the board. Flip the bread back right-side up and let cool another 5 minutes before slicing.

For best results: let the bread cool completely before slicing. Good luck trying to wait that long.

Have the butter on standby. It’s time to eat!

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