A holiday treat here is having several mini-loaves of this beautiful bread tucked away in the freezer. Fragrant and sweet and lovely, it has become a Christmas tradition. OK, maybe the kids won’t care about it – they like the cookies – but the adults in your house will appreciate it with coffee or tea for an afternoon snack or morning brunch. It will be even better a day or two after it’s baked.
Use fresh or frozen cranberries, freshly squeezed orange juice, and toasted pecans. Since there’s usually orange juice concentrate in my freezer I tend to substitute that for fresh orange juice, though fresh juice actually gives a more pronounced citrus taste, especially with the zest. Toast pecans by putting a single layer of pecan halves on a cookie sheet or pan with low sides. Bake at 350°F about 15 minutes, just until they’re fragrant and beginning to brown. Cool for several minutes and chop with a sharp knife. Toasted nuts are handy to keep in the freezer, so make extra while you’re at it.
There’s quite a bit of sugar here and the loaves will stick to the pans unless you line them with parchment, even if your pans are non-stick. Cut a strip of parchment long enough to line the bottom and up the long sides. Grease the short sides of the pans. Make the parchment pieces long enough to overhang the pan by 1-2 inches on each side so there’s something to grab onto when it’s time to release the bread from the pans.
– Joan, 6 December 2019
Cranberry orange quick bread
- 2¼ cups (450 grams) sugar
- ¾ cup (170 grams) canola or vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 1¼ cups (282 grams) buttermilk
- zest and juice from one large orange, or 1/4 cup orange juice concentrate, undiluted
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3½ cups (500 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 1¾ cups (200 grams) fresh or frozen cranberries
- ½ cup (50 grams) pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix the sugar and oil on low with a stand mixer till blended. Whisk the eggs together in a bowl and using low speed, mix them with the sugar/oil. Whisk together the buttermilk, orange juice (and zest, if using), and vanilla. Stir together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Alternate adding the liquid with the dry ingredients, beginning with the liquid and mixing briefly between additions. Fold in the cranberries and pecans.
Divide the batter evenly, about 300 grams per pan, among 6 parchment-lined mini loaf pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes, till knife inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Remove from oven. Run a knife between the bread and the short end of the pans. Grasp the overhanging parchment and lift bread from pans. Peel off parchment and allow loaves to cool completely before wrapping for storage or freezing.