Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cranberry-Orange Bread for Bribery

Monday night, after my lovely book club trailed out the door and after I cleaned up, I remembered that I had promised to bake something for my office as a Thanksgiving treat. It was 10 p.m. and I had had some red wine, but I was determined not to disappoint. I have this theory that bringing snacks to work gives me a smidgen of extra job security. I'm not delusional. I still work really hard to do a good job. But I figure if times get tight, and they have to lay someone off, and they are choosing between me and someone else, and we both do the same work equally as well... then I'll have the edge. Because I bake bread. With this in mind I pulled my gigantic, five-pound bag of cranberries (I love Costco) out of the fridge at 10:15 p.m.

By 11:15 I had one normal size loaf and four mini-loaves of cranberry-orange bread. My pre-work taste test the next morning was a thumbs up. Cranberry and orange zest might be my new favorite flavor combination for the holidays, which is good news because I have a lot of cranberries left. (The scones from earlier this week were also this flavor.) The bread was deliciously tart, and the overall texture was very light for quick bread, which can sometimes get a little cakey. I was impressed with how good this tasted considering the relatively small amount of butter and sugar. Nic found it to be a little bit too tart, so I might consider adding few tablespoons of sugar to the cranberries before I mix them into the dough next time. If you don't like tart, you should definitely do this. If you are big fan of tart cranberries (like me), you can probably leave the recipe as is.

Cranberry-Orange Bread
Adapted from Good Things Catered
Makes 1 loaf

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour*
1/2 cup granulated sugar (+ 2-3 tbs. for sweeter, less tart bread)
1 tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbs. grated orange zest
2/3 cup orange juice
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cup fresh cranberries, coursely chopped

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Sift together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
-Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from an orange, then finely chop the zest. Add zest to the flour mixture.
-In a small bowl, combine orange juice, eggs, and butter.
-If adding sugar to the cranberries, combine 2 to 3 tbs. sugar with chopped cranberries in a small bowl.
-Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
-Fold in cranberries.
-Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (Mini loaves take 35-40 minutes.)

*You can use 2 cups of all purpose flour if you prefer, but I find that half and half does not compromise the flavor or texture too much.

Note: I asked Katie, from Good Things Catered, if letting the bread chill on the counter wrapped up in plastic wrap, changed the flavor, since her original recipe called for doing this. She said: "If you wait a day or two [to eat the bread] the flavors meld and the bread ends up tasting a *bit* sweeter because of it. But not by much. It is fresh cranberry, so you could add some more sugar if you like." Thanks Katie! (P.S. Not only do we share a name, but she is also part Lebanese on her dad's side. Crazy, right?)


Anonymous said...

LOL @ your job security! I love your logic! And omgosh, I'm so flattered you tried a recipe from my site AND you liked it! :) :) I LOOOOVE cranberry orange. I have cran orange bars I make all.the.time. Not as good for you, but way yummy. I have the same HUGE package of cranberries so I'll have to keep my eye on what you make! lol! Happy Thanksgiving!!

ps- your pictures are just GORGEOUS!

Twin Tables said...

I so agree, treats at work make a big difference. Everyone in the office knows who I am! And cranberry orange is my favorite flavor combo. I can't wait to try this. I have some rolls coming up that are to die for!

Carrie said...

After trying the bread, I agree, this is a great form of job security. As someone about to enter the job market, maybe I should give out my resume with the bread!