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
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.
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