When the first day of fall arrives, it seems as though the whole country goes crazy for all things pumpkin. From pumpkin pies to lattes to cheesecakes, the flavor of pumpkin spice infuses everything with a comforting warmth that is quintessentially fall. But fall is more than just pumpkin. Apples, peas, squash, and sweet potatoes all flourish in the fall, and as temperatures grow colder, cranberries ripen and reach peak freshness. Their tart burst of flavor is a perfect contrast to the often heavy, rich meals that become popular as the days get shorter and the weather takes a turn towards cold.
While sauces and stuffings are a savory way to enjoy cranberries, baked goods are another delicious way to enjoy these little fruits. For this, we love cranberry orange quick bread! The sweetness of the orange paired with the tartness of the cranberries is a flavor combination that will quickly become a family favorite. This quick bread can be served for breakfast, enjoyed as a snack, and even eaten as dessert after a rich and satisfying meal.
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- grated zest of 1 large orange
- 2/3 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/4 cups fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- 4 tablespoons cranberry marmalade
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl.
- Stir in the orange zest.
- Make a well in the center and add the orange juice, eggs and vegetable oil.
- Stir gently, just until almost combined.
- Drop half tablespoons of marmalade on top of the batter. Fold in cranberries and nuts, making sure you don’t overmix batter.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
- Bake in preheated oven until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
- Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Tip: If serving cranberry orange quick bread as a dessert, make an easy orange glaze with orange juice and powdered sugar to add an extra citrusy fresh sweetness.
What is a quick bread?
Quick bread is made without yeast. This means you don’t need to let the dough rise or knead the mixture to develop the gluten, which are usually the most time consuming parts of bread making. Quick breads rely on leaving agents like baking powder to help them rise, and eggs to help them develop their fluffy texture. The are very similar in texture and moisture to a muffin or a cake.
Should I use fresh or dried cranberries in baking?
This depends on what you’re making. Dried cranberries are often sweeter than fresh berries, and have a texture similar to raisins. These can be added to almost any recipe from cookies to zucchini bread without having to alter the amount of dry ingredients needed to keep things balanced. Fresh cranberries are more tart, and maintain a bit of their bite in baking. Because they are fresh, their moisture content is higher, which may mean you need to increase the dry ingredients in your recipe. In our quickbread recipe, we suggest using fresh or frozen cranberries to get that perfect tart to sweet balance.
What can I use instead of vegetable oil?
Whether you are trying to make healthier choices, or you just ran out, there are other items you can use to substitute vegetable oil. Some popular alternatives are applesauce and greek yogurt. You could also use butter or margarine. If using applesauce or yogurt, your quick bread will likely not rise as much as if you were to use oil or butter.
What’s your favorite fall flavor? Tell us in the comments below!
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