At the beginning of November, my daughter saw the giant three pound bag of cranberries at Sam’s Club and insisted I buy it. When I asked her what we’d do with all those cranberries, she looked at me, eyes wide, and said “make cranberry sauce, of course.” She loves cranberry sauce! While I love me a good cranberry sauce, my favorite way to eat cranberries is in a quick bread or muffin. Yet, I’ve not found THE recipe for cranberry nut bread. I’ve not found that one recipe that I rely on time and time again, and in fact, the one I keep going back to because it’s the closest is inconsistent as far as results go.
Then I saw this recipe on the CLBB in an old thread that had been resurrected. It just seemed so simple, so straightforward, and several people chimed in that they’d stopped looking for cranberry bread recipes after trying this one. I copied down the recipe and headed to the kitchen. I started assembling ingredients when I got to the last one, orange juice. I had already been to the store once that day, and I hate going a second time. I also happen to dislike snow and cold weather, so I hibernate in the winter and go out only when I absolutely must. I suspected that milk was not going to be a good substitute, and I was at that crossroads of deciding I needed to run to the store, or make a different recipe.
Seriously people, I have to tell you that this makes it all too obvious that I don’t live somewhere warm, because the whole time I was lamenting my lack of orange juice I had this monster bag of navel oranges sitting on the floor right next to my fridge. And it was only when I walked past them and kicked the bag on the way to my garbage can that I realized what a maroon I was. Hello, normal people make orange juice by squeezing an orange, not opening a can of concentrate or a carton of the premium “freshly squeezed with pulp”. Two-and-a-half oranges later I had my orange juice and my bread was going in the oven.
It smelled heavenly while baking, and I am completely impressed with myself that I managed to bake the loaf, cool it completely, and then wrap it to rest overnight before slicing in. But then! Then I admit freely to eating about half the loaf in one day. It is that good. The orange juice adds the most spectacular flavor, without adding the bitter flavor I tend to find in goods made with orange zest. The crumb is tender, moist, and not at all gummy, like quick breads can be sometimes. There are plenty of cranberries and nuts scattered throughout that there is seldom a bite without, and overall, I think I’ve found my cranberry-nut bread. It’s fantastic, and even Andy, when confronted with his first slice, proceeded to slice a second and then declared his desire for more. Even better, when you look at the ingredients for this bread, there isn’t a mistake made. It really only uses one egg and a few tablespoons of oil. The one cup of sugar adds sweetness without being cloying, and with all the vitamin and antioxidant-rich orange juice and cranberries… this bread is good for you I tell you! Make some, you won’t regret it, honest!
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup cranberries — Fresh or frozen; washed and chopped or halved
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 beaten egg
3 tablespoons oil
1 cup orange juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.
Sift dry ingredients together. Add cranberries and nuts.
Mix eggs, orange juice and oil in a bowl; add to dry ingredients, cranberries and nuts. Mix just until combined.
Bake in greased loaf pan for one hour.