An easy breakfast, dessert, or snack option
‘Tis the season for baking. Cue that sugar high.
Or not. Our version of Cranberry Walnut Bread is sweet, but not overmuch. So you can eat it without fear of bouncing off the walls.
Of course, you may want that bounce, especially during the holiday season. In which case, have seconds. But don’t forget your crash helmet.
Recipe: Cranberry Walnut Bread
This is a quick bread (one that uses baking powder instead of yeast as leavening). It’s easy to put together and can be baked immediately.
Mrs. Kitchen Riffs is the baker in our household. For this post, she used a classic recipe for Cranberry Walnut Bread, adding extra cranberries and walnuts. But not more sugar – so this recipe is only moderately sweet. Meaning you get more of the good stuff, less of the bad stuff.
It takes 20 minutes or so to mix the batter for this recipe. Baking time adds about an hour and a quarter. Then you need to let the Cranberry Walnut Bread cool down before slicing.
This recipe yields a standard 9 x 5-inch loaf. Leftovers keep for a few days if wrapped in plastic or stored in an airtight container. They can also be frozen for up to two months.
- 12 ounces cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons double-acting baking powder (see Notes)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (see Notes)
- 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- zest and juice of 2 large oranges
- ~2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan, then line it with parchment paper.
- If using fresh cranberries, wash and drain them (we generally do this in a colander or a large strainer placed over the kitchen sink). Allow the cranberries to drain while you continue with the recipe.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, using a hand mixer), cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg. Mix in the orange juice and zest. Add the cranberries, then the chopped walnuts. Mix well to combine. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix to combine.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle of the bread comes out mostly clean.
- Remove the Cranberry Walnut Bread from the oven and cool it on a wire rack. Cut into slices of ¾-inch or so for serving.
- No need to chop the cranberries before adding them to the batter. They will soften (and usually pop open) while baking.
- Walnuts are traditional in this recipe. But pecans would probably work well too.
- This recipe is not overly sweet — and the cranberries add plenty of tartness. If you prefer a sweeter taste profile, just increase the sugar.
- Don’t overbake this bread. It should remain fairly moist.
- Most baking powders you’re likely to buy these days are “double-acting.” They’re called double-acting because you get an initial reaction when you mix the powder with wet ingredients (creating bubbles that help the batter rise). And then a second reaction when the batter hits the heat of the oven.
- Baking powder consists of baking soda plus an acidic ingredient (which reacts with the baking soda to produce leavening), plus a neutral substance (often corn starch) to provide bulk. We suggest shaking baking powder before using it to make sure all the ingredients are well mixed.
- BTW, baking powder becomes weaker over time (so note the expiration date). We usually replace ours once a year to make sure the baking powder we’re using is at full strength.
- We use kosher salt in cooking and baking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If you’re using table salt, start with about half the amount we suggest. But always salt to your taste, not ours.
To Be or Nut to Be
“Holiday baking season has been fruitful so far,” I said. “Love the cranberries. And walnuts.”
“Sort of thought the fruit-cakey vibe would appeal to you,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs.
“Is that a subtle comment on my mental state?” I said.
“Not so subtle, actually,” said Mrs K R. “But it does capture the flavor of your puns.”
“I always hope they wal-nut disappoint,” I said.
“Your hopes are dashed again,” said Mrs K R.
I cranberry catch a break around here. Maybe I should cashew all later.
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