Friday, November 18, 2011
Cranberry Bread: A Family Tradition
This time of season evokes thoughts of family traditions and memories of holiday celebrations. Thanksgiving, in particular, sends me flying back to my childhood table. When I moved away from home and began cooking in my own kitchen, I took many of my mom’s recipes with me. They were the building blocks in the creation of my own repertoire of recipes and I am still cooking many of them years later.
Every year, I pull out the five pages of handwritten Thanksgiving recipes from my mom. In these pages she shares her menu for dishes such as scalloped corn supreme, cranberry salad, autumn stuffing, cranberry velvet pie and her delectable sour cream coffee cake (wonderful for breakfast on Thanksgiving Day). She includes notes and tips from her experience in preparing this holiday feast - so helpful for me as a novice cook, and great reminders now! She ends the pages of notes by writing, “Good luck – a lot of fun work and worth it!” I have found this to be very true.
Looking over these splattered, rumpled pages, I lingered on the recipe for cranberry bread. It’s a recipe my younger brother, Mike, brought home from his preschool (as noted by my mom) and that we enjoyed on our Thanksgiving table every year after that. It’s full of fresh cranberries and toasted walnuts, with a subtle citrus flavor. My mom always baked the bread in mini-loaf pans and placed one at each person’s setting on the table. I loved having my own individual loaf and carefully cutting little slices to devour!
As I got older, I began making this cranberry bread myself and it always tastes of Thanksgiving and family to me. Thanks, Mom.
Makes 1 9x5 inch loaf or 4 mini-loaves
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, roughly chopped or pulsed a few times in a food processor
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x5 loaf pan or 4 mini-loaf pans.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars together. Add the egg and orange juice and mix until blended. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and beat into the butter mixture. Gently fold in the cranberries and walnuts until just mixed.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake until golden and a tester has just a few moist crumbs on it (about 25 minutes for mini-loaves, 45 minutes for a big loaf). Let cool before removing from pan(s).