Cranberry Orange Almond Bread

Hey y’all.

I know. It’s been like a month since my last post. I didn’t mean to let this much time go by, but there’s been a lot going on.

Long story short, we made another move. Not as far as the one before, this time only from Norcal to SoCal.

But moving anywhere is tedious, time consuming and stressful. Then after the move comes the ‘settling in’ period to the new place and location.  I meant to set aside some time for blogging during that time, but it didn’t work out that way.

If I’m being perfectly honest, with the way my life and schedule is going to adjust while we we’re here, my blogging and posting might become less frequent. I hope that it doesn’t, but should it come to that I’m still going to aim for doing at least one post a month. Knock on wood.

But anyway, let’s just get to today’s recipe, which is kinda apropos for the subject matter of not having a whole lot of time to get something done, but still wanting/needing for it to be. Quick bread was one of the first things I learned how to bake. It’s a great place to start for someone interested in baking bread who’s still scared of yeast. The reason is written right in the name itself; baking powder and egg takes the place of the leavening agent and cut down on the overall labor and bake time.

Most people’s exposure to quick bread comes through either banana bread or zucchini bread, as those tend to be the most popular. There are endless possibilities to the flavors and ingredients you can use though, some of which I’ve already shared on the blog. Today’s recipe takes one of my favorite flavor combos to bake with in general, and puts it into quick bread.

I was making brinner for us one day and didn’t feel like the added labor of pancakes, waffles or biscuits. I also didn’t have a whole lot of time. My solution was to make a quick bread using some spare ingredients I already had lying around the kitchen.  The cranberry and orange of course go together great, but the almond extract is actually my favorite ingredient in this loaf: it gives that subtle but present ‘bakery flavor’ that just can’t be duplicated any other way. The loaf also isn’t too sweet. I took a piece or two, toasted and smeared them with butter. It’s delicious.

It’s quick, it’s easy, it tastes great. What more do you really need to know?

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Cranberry Orange Almond Bread

Recipe Adapted from Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the dried cranberries and orange zest.

In a small bowl combine the egg with the milk, oil and extracts.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, stirring just until combined.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Sprinkle the top with white sugar.

Place on a sheet pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely on a wire rack.

Linking up to Fiesta Friday #292, co-hosted this week by Ai @ Ai Made It For You.

 

Cranberry Orange Quick Bread

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.

12 Days of Christmas Banner

Day 1: Winter Spice Toaster Tarts

Day 2: Smoky Chili Crackers

Day 3: Spicy Chocolate Gingerbread

Day 4: Cranberry Orange Quick Bread

Cranberry Orange Quick Bread

Recipe Adapted from Chowhound.com

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Ingredients

  • 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 

For Topping

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 heaping teaspoons butter

For Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk

 

 

 

Directions

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.

Gingerbread

Gingebread3

12 Days of Christmas {Treats}

Hey guys, more Random Facts about Christmas coming your way:

  1. In 1999, residents of the state of Maine in America built the world’s biggest ever snowman. He stood at 113ft tall. (A part of me thinks that this is pretty cool…another part thinks that these people just had way too much time on their hands.)
  2. Many theologians estimate that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25 but sometime in September between 6BC and 30AD. (I’m totally calling it guys: Jesus was born on September 27th….same day as yours truly ;-))
  3. MANY parts of the Christmas tree can actually be eaten, with the needles being a good source of Vitamin C. (Yeah, um…I’m not eating pine tree needles. Like, ever.)

Source

Gingebread1

Living in Michigan means that we generally get to go through all four seasons throughout the year. In the summer, it’s generally pretty hot, in the spring it’s cool and rainy, in the fall it’s chilly with golden trees, and in the winter it’s cold and snowy (most of the time). I like living in a place where I can have a ‘White Christmas’, but one of my longtime Christmas wishes/dreams is to actually be able to spend the holiday season (from about December 1st-January 2nd) someplace else.

New York City to be exact.

It;s bad enough that I’ve never been to the Big Apple (I know, that alone is a travesty), but every year that goes by without me getting to be in NYC during Christmas time does make me rather depressed. I’d love to be able to go skating and see the tree at Rockefeller Center, go and get lost in Macy’s, and of course be in Times Square for New Years Eve. I just want soak up the busy, electric atmosphere of the city. I’ve never been to New York, but I LOVELOVELOOOOVE Chicago, Atlanta and Boston, and if New York is anything like those places, then I know it’s where I belong. If I did still believe in Santa Claus, a Christmas in New York would be definitely be on my wish list of things to ask him for.

Gingebread4

I’ve actually wanted to make this recipe for a pretty long time now. It comes from a huge cookbook that my mom has had since I was a little girl. It’s supposed to be a cookbook/recipe encyclopedia that tells you how to basically cook EVERYTHING in life, with recipes as simple as pound cake, to as complicated as octopus. The photography is fancy and completely stunning. I’m waiting for the day that my pictures look as beautiful as the Recipe Encyclopedia’s. I used to flip through the book, marking off all the things I was gonna ask my mom to make for me. This gingerbread was one of them, and I must say that after years of suspense, it didn’t disappoint. The ginger and allspice are what really give this bread it’s flavor. It’s subtly sweet, with just the right amount of spice to give it a ‘bite’. Definitely a win for Christmas treats.

Today’s recommendation is for another music album, and yes, it’s from the 90’s. What can I say, that was the crux of my childhood. Plus, if you ask me, music in general was just better quality then. Vanessa Williams had some of her most successful years as a recording artist in the 90’s. My mom listened to her cassette tapes and CDs all the time, and I’m still a huge fan of hers now. All of her albums are fantastic, but I think that my favorite to this day is still her Christmas record, ‘Star Bright’. Vanessa has a smooth, velvety voice that’s very soothing and pleasant- perfect for music you can put on in the background while opening gifts on Christmas morning.

Favorite Tracks: “Star Bright,” “What Child is This?“, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “I Wonder as I Wander”, “The First Noel”, “Baby It’s Cold Outside”

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Gingerbread

Recipe Courtesy of Recipe Encyclopedia

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light molasses
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. Preheat oven to moderate 350°. Brush a deep 8 inch square cake pan with melted butter, line the base with paper; grease the paper.

2. Place the butter, brown sugar, molasses and water in a large pan. Cook over low heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has completely dissolved. Cool slightly.

3. Add the lightly beaten egg to butter mixture.

4. Sift the flour, ground ginger, allspice, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the ingredients and add the butter and egg mixture; stir until the ingredients are just combined and moistened.

5. Spoon into the prepared cake pan; bake for 30 minutes, or until the gingerbread is cooked through.

6. Gingerbread may be served warm with whipped cream, or cold, dusted with confectioners’ sugar; or spread with butter.

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