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 (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
- standard loaf pan (8 1/2- x 4 1/2-inches)
- pastry cutter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (1 oz, 30g)
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar (1 oz, 30g)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter (1-1/2 oz, 45g), cold
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (8-1/2 oz, 240g)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup cranberries (4 oz, 110g), chopped, fresh or frozen (do not thaw) (see Recipes Notes)
- 1/2 cup pecans (2-1/4 oz, 65g), chopped, optional
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (3-3/4 oz, 105g), packed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (3-1/2 oz, 100g)
- 1 cup buttermilk (8 oz, 227g), see Recipe Notes
- 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil (2-2/4 oz, 66g), or melted coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp orange zest
- 1 cup powdered sugar (4-1/4 oz, 120g)
- 1-2 Tbsp orange juice
- orange zest (as much as you want)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray a standard loaf pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- Make the streusel: Combine the flour, sugar, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl, then cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter, your hands, or two forks, like if you're making biscuits or scones...you want pea-size crumbs.
- Make the batter: 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.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until it's smooth (with no lumps of brown sugar hiding in there). 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, trying not to overmix the batter.
- Pour the batter into prepared loaf pan. Top evenly with the streusel, pressing it 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. Use a cake tester or toothpick to check for doneness...if it comes out clean, the bread is done.
- Remove the pan from oven and cool on a wire cooling rack for 15 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and cool completely in the pan on the rack.
- Make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk the powdered sugar and orange juice together, adding more orange juice if you want the glaze to be thinner, then whisk in orange zest. Drizzle over cooled bread, then slice and serve.
- Bread stays fresh at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 6-7 days. For longer storage, you can freeze the unglazed bread for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before glazing and serving.
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, but I didn’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!