Fresh Orange Cranberry Bread

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 Cranberries are here! And they're everywhere - fresh and cheap. Cranberries are absolutely loaded with antioxidants, and there's nothing like that particular little tartness.

I don't save them just for sauce on Thanksgiving or Christmas. When they're fresh I stock up and load the freezer, and throw them into all kinds of baked goods. They work really well with particular flavors - my favorite pairing is with oranges, although all kinds of citrus is yummy. In this case I have an orange cranberry bread that I love to whip out before the Little Darlings get home from school, since they descend upon me in a ravenous horde.

This one satisfies - it's a perfect after school treat. But it works just as well for brunch or breakfast, or toasted with butter and coffee. There aren't too many times this bread doesn't work! I do like to let it sit for several hours before serving. The sweetness of the orange bread and the tartness of the whole cranberries mellow together, and something lovely happens with just a little time on the cooling rack.

This quick bread goes together in no time. It's best if you have fresh orange juice with the pulp - I throw that into the batter along with the juice. I usually juice two oranges to get the right amount of juice, but a tablespoon off here or there won't matter much. Try this one - you'll be glad you did!

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The Recipe!

 You'll Need:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • zest of 1 orange - about a tablespoon
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, or frozen if you have to
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Butter a 9x5 loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a second mixing bowl beat egg. Add orange juice, orange zest, butter, and water. Mix well.
  4. Fold egg/orange mixture into flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Don't over mix!
  5. Fold in cranberries and pecans. Spoon into prepared pan.
  6. Bake at 325F for about an hour - this can vary a good bit depending on the accuracy of your oven. To test for donesness, insert a skewer into the center of the loaf. It should come out clean when withdrawn. 
  7. Remove from oven and allow it to cool for about 15 minutes. Then turn the bread out onto a wire cooling rack. It slices best when cool and actually tastes better as well.

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