Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Start of My Holiday Baking

Or it might be the sum total of my holiday baking. I haven't really decided yet if I'm going to go for it with zip and zing or be a (more rested and relaxed) Scrooge and skip it this year.

However, I found myself in a spot this afternoon between tasks and wavered as to what to do to best fill the small amount of time I had so decided to mix up the batter for Cranberry-Walnut Loaf. I never make this sweet bread except at holiday time although there's no good reason not to do so.

Having these little loaves baked and ready (they freeze beautifully and don't take long to defrost) makes me feel more comfortable as far as not being caught with absolutely no holiday-ish treat on hand.

The recipe says to bake the batter in two regular sized loaf pans but I almost always bake it in four small pans because then the slices are just right for eating with your hand. (Give 'em a napkin and no plate or silverware is required.) There are only three small loaves in the above picture because one loaf has already left the premises.

I think the flavor is greatly improved by wrapping the loaves in foil after they have cooled on racks and storing in the refrigerator over night before serving. Doing this also makes slicing much easier with very little crumbling to worry about.

I'd gladly give credit where it's due for the origin of this recipe but I've had it for so many years, I truly don't remember how it came to be in my recipe box.


3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 cup whole cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl and cut in the butter until mixture looks like corn meal.

In a small bowl, combine eggs, milk and grated orange rind. Pour into dry ingredients and stir just until dampened.

Fold in cranberries and nuts and spread into 2 greased and floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until toothpick comes out clean. (I bake the small loaves for 50 minutes.)

Cool pans on rack for 10 minutes before removing loaves from the pans. Then cool the loaves thoroughly on racks.

For easier slicing (and I think better flavor) wrap in foil and store in refrigerator over night.

I'm not too sure I gained as much as I anticipated in my effort to bake and stash away this yummy sweet bread to have on hand. As I said, one of the four little loaves went home with someone already and I know Papa Pea is going to want to sample another one (just to make sure it's good, he always says). Oh well, that still leaves two loaves for the freezer. I think I'd better hide them well.


dr momi said...

....what???? is that header for real?

Hidden Haven Homestead said...

Going to try this recipe with the grands when I get to the mountains. I love cranberries and walnuts!

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

Have kitchen, will bake. The bread looks really good.

Erin said...

This looks like something I will definitely try, I love dessert breads! I vote for just relaxing this Christmas and taking in all that you have done so far!

Karen L. said...

You can bet that I just printed this out to use. Anything with cranberries and orange (or chocolate .... where's the chocolate?) in it is something I am going to want to eat. Will make a nice gift for a neighbor. Thanks for posting it. And I need to get some of those small loaf pans, darn it!

Sparkless said...

Those loaves look delicious! Cranberries and walnuts, well then it's a healthy loaf too, bonus!

Mama Pea said...

dr momi - Ha! Scroll down to my post of a couple of days ago titled "I'm Behind My Behind" to get an explanation of the header photo.

Peggy - I'm really fond of cranberries, too. Just the right amount of tasty tang added to sweet things.

Jane - Thanks, Jane. I may decide not to do the regular holiday baking this year but I am going to get into that kitchen for some cooking and baking . . . soon!

Erin - Shall I pretend you're my boss and I have to relax this Christmas? Twist my arm.

Karen L. - The small loaves really are just the thing for smaller gifts. And so much easier than a plate of assorted Christmas cookies. I wrap the little loaves in clear wrap, tie a colored ribbon around them with a sprig of evergreen under the bow on top. Looks very festive!

Sparkless - Plus this sweet bread is NOT overly sweet. The nuts and cranberries come through with each bite. The slices are purdy, too!

Tombstone Livestock said...

Good for you ... I only have a kitchen cause it came with the house. Bread looks delicious, enjoy.

Merry Christmas

Stephanie said...

Thanks for sharing:) My mom loves cranberries, this will be perfect for her:)

judy said...

now where is my book mark when I need but-keeps disappearing,just because I have 15 million recipes on there doesn't matter,this one I have to keep

Lisa said...

This looks absolutely delicious! I love cranberries and orange combination and did not have a good recipe....until now! Thank you Mama Pea! PS I'd vote for the 'more rested and relaxed' Christmas.

Jenyfer Matthews said...

I think my poor children have gotten so used to me "taking the year off" that they haven't even wondered why I haven't made any cookies yet this year, LOL

Mama Pea said...

Tombstone Livestock - That's an old line but I still got a chuckle from you using it this morning.

Stephanie - Good! Hope she enjoys it.

judy - You and me both, Kiddo. I have more recipes saved to try than I could ever hope to work my way through in a lifetime!

Lisa - With a little more support like yours, I'll be staying in my p.j.s from now until after New Year's!! (Dang, that sounds good.)

Jen - Yeah, your kids are suffering all right . . . NOT!

Susan said...

I'd be very happy to hide them down here for you, Mama Pea. You know how helpful I am.

Mama Pea said...

Susan - You're always so willing to help, you little elf, you!

The Apple Pie Gal said...

This reminds me I need to make your rye bread if I want it ready for tomorrow! Good thing I sat down at the computer today!!

Mama Pea said...

APG - What's happenin' tomorrow?? Something involving bread obviously! :o}