Tart, juicy cranberries, fresh orange juice and orange zest in a sweet batter give this colorful cranberry orange quick bread its festive flavor. It looks great on a holiday dessert table and also makes a lovely breakfast treat.
I'm a fan of fresh cranberries because I always associate them with the November/December holiday season. That's because it's difficult to find them in the grocery store at any other time. I searched the produce department of various area grocery stores throughout the month of October to no avail. Finally at the beginning of November bags of fresh cranberries appeared.
Of course, you can use frozen cranberries in place of fresh ones in most recipes, including this one. But there's something about the hunt for fresh cranberries in the fall that makes it more fun. It's a sign that the holidays are upon us!
A Great Bread For Beginning Bakers
Quick breads have been around since the 19th century, but they were very popular in the 1950's and 60's cookbooks due to their efficient use of ingredients and ease for the mid century modern baker. They don't require kneading or rising; they're simply mixed in a bowl, transferred to a baking pan and baked. This one is made with fruit and juice and it comes out very moist on the inside, even if you accidentally leave it in the oven a little too long (ahem...speaking from experience.) They make great gifts for neighbors at the holidays -- just wrap them up in a little cellophane with a bow on top as a gift the whole family can enjoy.
Made With Basic Ingredients
Except for the seasonal cranberries, this cranberry orange quick bread is made with basic ingredients you usually have in the house:
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Orange juice
- Orange zest
- Walnuts (optional)
Five Easy Steps
- Start by mixing the first five dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then cutting in the butter until it resembles small crumbles.
- In a smaller bowl mix the orange juice, orange zest and egg.
- Pour the juice mixture into the dry ingredients and mix them together.
- Fold in the cranberries, and if you're adding nuts, fold them in, too.
- Transfer to a well greased 8 x 4 x 2 loaf pan and bake!
How to Know When Cranberry Orange Bread Is Done Baking
Test for doneness by inserting a wooden toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, it's ready, and if it doesn't, it needs more time.
This bread is very dense, so you can't judge doneness just by looking at it or touching the top. Even if it looks nice and brown on the outside, it still may need time on the inside. Removing it too soon will likely cause it to fall in the center during the cooling process and be gooey on the inside when you cut it (again...speaking from experience.) Therefore, make sure you do the toothpick test regardless of appearance. If you feel that your bread is getting too brown before it passes the toothpick test, slide a piece of foil loosely over the top to prevent it from browning further.
Cranberry Orange Quick Bread
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- ½ cup chopped walnuts optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 4 x 2 loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
- Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- In a small bowl beat egg, orange juice and orange zest.
- Add juice mixture to dry ingredients and mix just until blended.
- Fold in cranberries. If you are adding nuts, fold them in at the same time.
- Transfer to a greased 8 x 4 x 2 loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove bread and cool completely on a wire rack.