Holiday baking is made that much better when you use fresh cranberries. That’s what I did when making Cinnamon Streusel Orange Glazed Cranberry Bread!
Misdirection (kind of)
Ha! You thought I was going to write about oranges, didn’t you? Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re…er…actually not wrong. I will mention oranges, but that’s not my main focus. Instead, let’s talk cranberries…fresh cranberries are readily available in the days leading up to Thanksgiving and on through the December holidays, but you don’t really see them outside that time. Oh, you can get dried cranberries year round, but I love cooking, and especially baking, with fresh cranberries because of that burst of tartness that you get when they’re not overpowered by sugar. Cranberry Bread? Much better with fresh cranberries! What about Cranberry Sauce? Even that is better when made with fresh berries (and a whole lot better then the canned stuff, to be sure!). So whenever I see fresh berries in the market, I grab a couple of bags & freeze them. Who knows when the whim will strike me that I need to make something cranberry, STAT!
Cranberry Bread, improved
That mood hit me last week when I saw this gorgeous Cinnamon Streusel Orange Glazed Cranberry Bread on Sally’s Baking Addiction (see, I told you I’d mention oranges!). Really, cranberries and oranges are made for each other…The citrus sweetness balances the cranberries’ tartness perfectly, and you have the added bonus of the streusel because, well…it’s streusel! The most labor intensive part of the whole process is slicing the berries in half, so I’d recommend putting on some music and just go zen. Oh, and slicing them when they’re frozen really helps.
Cinnamon Streusel Orange Glazed Cranberry Bread
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (31g)
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar (30g)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter (45g), cold
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (250g)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup cranberries (110g), chopped, fresh or frozen (do not thaw) (see Note)
- 1/2 cup pecans (65g), chopped, optional
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (105g), packed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100g)
- 1 cup buttermilk (240ml), no substitutions
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil (80ml), (or canola; or melted coconut oil)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp orange zest
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar (120g)
- 1-2 tbsp orange juice
- orange zest (as much as you want)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with nonstick spray. I prefer a dark metal loaf pan, which seems to help brown quick breads more evenly.
- Make the streusel first: Toss the flour, sugar, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter, your hands, or two forks. Go for pea-size crumbs.
- Make the bread: In a large bowl, toss the flour, baking soda, salt, cranberries, and pecans together until combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until combined. Make sure there are no brown sugar lumps remaining. Whisk in the buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and orange zest. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently whisk until there are no more lumps. Do not overmix.
- Pour the batter into prepared loaf pan. Top evenly streusel, pressing the streusel down gently into the top of the bread so it sticks.
- Bake the bread for 45 minutes to 1 hour, covering loosely with foil about halfway through to ensure even browning. Poke the center of the bread with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the bread is done. Oven times will vary between ovens. My bread took 59 minutes exactly. Allow bread to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
- Make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk the confectioners' sugar and orange juice together. Add more orange juice depending how thick you want the glaze. Whisk in orange zest and drizzle over cooled bread.
- Slice and serve. Bread stays fresh at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 6-7 days.
Improving on Cranberry Sauce
I had some berries left over when I made a double batch of the bread, so I made some cranberry sauce that’s sweetened with honey and spiced with cinnamon, with a zing of orange zest added for good measure (Cranberry Sauce with Orange & Honey from Natasha’s Kitchen). Using honey makes the sweetness not quite so cloying which really helped to showcase the berries even further. Plus, it’s a really easy recipe to throw together on the fly, and lasts in the fridge about 2-3 weeks if you don’t gobble it up by the spoonful (not that I’m suggesting I do this ** cough, cough **). I love to mix this relish into my plain Greek yogurt in the morning. Yum!
I love holiday baking…remember the Honey Cake I made for the Jewish New Year? Well, I brought this Orange Glazed Cranberry Bread into work the other day to rave reviews (hey, it’s a new job and I want them to like me!). One of my co-workers actually said, “My Mother-in-law makes Cranberry Bread every year at Christmas. I don’t like hers at all. I didn’t think I liked Cranberry Bread, but I love this one!” I replied, “I promise I won’t tell her.” With that ringing endorsement, I encourage you to give this yummy tea bread a try…it will brighten your holidays and bring joy to your heart (or to your mouth, which is even better).
Wishing everyone a sweet, delicious holiday…may good aromas comes from your oven!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!