I’ll be completely honest with y’all: I have no idea what canned cranberry sauce tastes like. I’ve never tried it before in my life. Growing up, I would always see it on the table at Thanksgiving and Christmas but there was something about the mere sight of the stiff sliced rings that was off-putting to me. Why would it be called a ‘sauce’ when it resembled thin beets (which, I’ve never liked)? Plus, back then I thought it made no sense to want to eat something sweet with something as savory as turkey and dressing.
Nowadays I DO think it makes sense to eat cranberry sauce with turkey and dressing–I actually think it’s delicious…just so long as it’s homemade. Ever since I started making my own cranberry sauce it spurred a love for ALL things cranberry, specifically in baking.
I still had some fresh cranberries leftover from Thanksgiving that I kept in the freezer and I knew that I wanted to try and do something with them for the 12 Days of Christmas series. My niece’s preschool was let out for Winter Break this past week and I wanted to make her teacher a small gift of appreciation. So, she and I made this loaf together. She’s becomes quite the good little sous chef/baker.
The first breads that I made when I was starting out baking were quick breads. They’re very easy to put together, involve no work with yeast, kneading, proofing, and are pretty hard to mess up. They store and ship well too, which makes them ideal for gift-giving at this time of year.
Cranberries and oranges are an ideal flavor combination. The sweet of the orange balances out the tart of the cranberry and vice versa. Here, the fresh cranberries are paired with both orange zest and juice. I also added a cinnamon swirl to the batter that gives it more of a ‘wintery spice flavor’. You may have noticed that I also really like adding icings to things, so there’s one of those here too. You can leave it out if you like, the bread is yummy enough all on its own to do without.
Quick bread is great all on its own alongside coffee or tea. It’s also sturdy enough to make awesome french toast and bread pudding. Do whatever you want with it, really. Just make & try it. I’m gonna go ahead and share this at the Fiesta Friday #201, co-hosted this week by Monika @ Everyday Healthy Recipes and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.
Stay tuned for more recipes in the 12 Days of Christmas series, I’m really hyped to share what’s to come.
Cranberry Orange Quick Bread
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Finely grated zest of 1 medium orange
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick), melted and cooled slightly, plus more for coating the pan
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 heaping teaspoons butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, orange zest, baking powder, salt, baking soda and cinnamon with a whisk.
Add the orange juice, melted butter, egg and vanilla. Fold in the cranberries.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
In a small bowl combine the sugar and ground cinnamon. Cut the butter into the mixture, leaving it in small clumps. Sprinkle on top of the loaf. Use a knife to swirl through the top and through the middle of the loaf.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 50-55 minutes. Allow to cool inside pan for about 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Combine the powdered sugar with the milk and stir until it forms a thickened glaze. Use the tines of a fork to drizzle over the top of the loaf. Allow to set for about an hour until hardened.