There’s nothing like a slice of warm (grain-free) quick bread with a cup of coffee. This one is full of plump dried cranberries and pecans. Plump dried cranberries sounds like an oxymoron but it isn’t in this case.
Dried cranberries are pretty chewy and sometimes a little tough like little hockey pucks. It’s easy for them to become “the” annoying ingredient in an otherwise tasty little quick bread. Plumping up the dried cranberries with liquid that you’ll add to the batter gives the whole thing a better chew. Also, it adds a ton of flavor to the cranberries and makes them a little less over-the-top sweet. It’s hard to find dried cranberries that aren’t loaded with sweetener.
We used pecans but walnuts would be just as nice in this recipe. You could skip the nuts altogether, too.
The soaking liquid has a big splash of Grand Marnier. I’d also use Rum or Kirsch, too. If you don’t want the alcohol, just leave it out.
Be sure to check the internal temperature of the quick bread because it is the best way to know if it’s done. A toothpick test can be deceiving in these kinds of baked goods. It might come out without crumbs but it still could be a little bit under baked (and gooey) in the center and you won’t notice that until it is cool and the bread is sliced. An instant read thermometer is a baker’s very good friend. I like my Thermapen and I’ve had it for years with only one battery change. But any good, reliable instant read will work. You’ll want the quick bread to be almost 190° before you take it out. The edges will be dark and may appear slightly burned but the breads always taste better with crusty edges and a fully baked center.
Also, don’t worry about how long it takes to bake. Quick breads can take forever. Sometimes up to 70 minutes. That last bit of waiting is annoying because you have to keep checking the temperature, but it is well worth the effort. A tasty, well-baked quick bread will win you tons of friends or just make everyone around you very happy.
The mixing part is pretty easy and quick (living up to its name) but the baking part takes a little time so it’s a good project for when you are doing other things in or near the kitchen. And when it’s done and cooled a bit – enough to slice it? You’ll be glad you baked this thing. Really.
|Easy Cranberry Nut Bread|| |
- 120 grams dried cranberries (1 cup)
- 120 grams coarsely chopped toasted pecans or walnuts (1 cup)
- 160 grams orange juice (2/3 cup)
- 1 generous tablespoon Grand Marnier or Kirsch (optional)
- 250 grams blanched almond flour (2½ cups)
- 120 grams tapioca starch (3/4 cup)
- 100 grams granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground clove
- 60 grams nondairy milk (1/4 cup)
- 1 orange, zested
- 3 extra large eggs
- 160 grams neutral vegetable oil (2/3 cup)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon orange extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. In a medium size bowl mix together dried cranberries and nuts. Pour orange juice and Grand Mariner (if using) over the mixture. Stir. Let the mixture sit for about fifteen minutes and up to 30 minutes is fine. Once the blend of cranberries and nuts finishes soaking, strain the liquid (you’ll have less than what you put in because the fruit absorbed some)and begin mixing together the other ingredients.
- In a medium bowl blend together almond flour, tapioca starch, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove until combined. In a large bowl whisk together 100 to 120 grams of the strained liquid, milk, zest, eggs, oil and vanilla plus orange extracts until blended. Add flour mixture and blend until batter is smooth. Stir in ¾ of the cranberries and nuts. Scoop batter into the prepared pan and add the remaining cranberries and nuts to the top of the batter.
- Bake 35-40 minutes and rotate pan. Turn oven temperature down to 325°F and bake 20-25 minutes more or until an instant read thermometer reads about 190°F. Cool in the pan for fifteen minutes or until you can touch the bottom of the pan with your hand, and then transfer quick bread to a rack to cool almost completely. Slice using a serrated knife. Best served slightly warm.