Mom’s Cranberry Nut Bread

by feastonthecheap on November 15, 2010

Mary Anne here. Every year, Cranberry, Pumpkin, and Date Nut breads all grace our holiday table, regardless of who hosts the family feast. And all three of these traditional breads work double-time: first, as a sweet side to the savory turkey and trimmings on Thanksgiving night, and then the next morning, re-heated alongside eggs and bacon as an indulgent breakfast treat.

My mom in particular prefers this Cranberry Nut Bread over all others, primarily because it’s super moist and the berries offer up a surprising “pop-tart” explosion when you bite into one. My personal fave is Date Nut, and my kids clamor for Pumpkin Bread. At the end of the day, despite our personal preferences, we gobble up every last crumb of each and every loaf.

Like most sweet breads, the Cranberry Nut variety freezes beautifully: simply wrap it in a layer of Saran followed by tin-foil. It’s a breeze to prepare, requiring about a half-hour of hands-on time and, since it’s yeast-free, it’s also fairly goof-proof. As any holiday host knows, that’s no small favor when it comes to prepping for this extravagant meal. If you’ve got a favorite holiday bread, we’re all ears!

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Mom’s Cranberry Nut Bread
Makes 1 Loaf: About 12 Thick Slices

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour – stock
1 cup sugar – stock
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder – stock
½ teaspoon baking soda – stock
1 teaspoon salt – stock
1 stick sweet butter, sliced and cut into bits – stock
¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice – $1.25
Zest of 2 oranges (about 1 generous Tablespoon) – included above
1 large egg, well beaten – stock
½ cup chopped walnuts – stock
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped – $2.49
Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry: $3.74
Total Per Slice: $0.31

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray and lightly flour a 9 x 5 x 3” bread loaf pan. Tap out the excess flour.

2. In the bowl of a food processor armed with the metal blade, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and soda, and the butter bits. Pulse for several seconds until it resembles coarse meal. Note: Alternatively, if you don’t have a food processor, combine the ingredients in a large bowl and cut the butter in, using a pastry blender.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the orange juice and zest with the egg. Pour all at once into the dry ingredients, until combined. Note: This is not a smooth batter, by any means. Don’t over-mix it, as it will produce a dry loaf. I use a wooden spoon and stir until all of the dry mixture is “dampened”.

4. Carefully fold in the cranberries and walnuts. Transfer to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

5. Transfer to a wire rack and allow the bread to cool for about 10 minutes. Invert onto a second wire rack, and then invert again so it is top-side up. Serve warm or allow to cool completely before wrapping with a coat of plastic followed by a layer of foil.