Friday, November 12, 2010

Cranberry Bread

Snow in the forecast!  That usually means baking around here.  Too early for Christmas cookies, but there's nothing like cranberries to seem like November, right?

When you teach your children at home AND love to cook, very often school translates to the kitchen.  One of our favorite childrens' books is Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin.  It was published in 1971 and the lovely illustrations reflect this.  The story is timeless - being a friend to those who are friendless, along with not judging a person by their outer self.  When Maggie gets to invite someone to dinner on Thanksgiving, her grandmother advises her, "Ask someone poor or lonely."  Amen.

The other great line from the book is regarding the dinner itself.  " . . . everything cooked with crisp edges and tender centers."  Amen again!

And any book with a hero named Uriah Peabody has GOT to be good.

This is my slightly modified version of the recipe that is included with the book.  Buy the book, get it from the library, or borrow it from me, and read it to your family at least a dozen times in the next two weeks.

Cranberry Bread

2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 scant cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons cold butter
3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 beaten egg
1 tablespoon grated or zested and chopped orange peel
2 cups chopped cranberries, either fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a glass (or metal) 9 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, powder, salt, and soda.  Cut in butter until coarse crumbs form (use a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingers in a rubbing motion).  Stir in the orange peel, then the juice and egg.  Fold in the cranberries.

Spoon batter into the prepared loaf pan, and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Serve, as Maggie's grandmother did, with "pale, sweet butter."


  1. Sounds fab. Trying it tomorrow :)

  2. I have to old were your kids when you started involving them on a regular basis? My kids watch and dump and stir only on occasion. Most of the time they are playing or sleeping when I cook. And most of the time I like it that way. :o( I want for them to love cooking and join me in the kitchen, but will I be jeopardizing that if I mostly wait until they're a *bit* more capable?

  3. I 'try' to let them help as they are interested, to whatever degree they can without wrecking it. Sometimes they just want to stir, then go play. I am a bit of a control freak with some cooking, so the hard stuff I leave them out of, KWIM? It is better to let them start early and learn to do things the right way and become skilled. Proper knife usage, careful stirring, knowledge about heat, all that. Often, I find my tiny kids just want to sit at the counter and watch, talk, taste and learn. It's a good start! So yes, do the picky stuff when they sleep, but save the 'easy' stuff for them to be a part of and they will surprise you how quickly they can learn to be careful :) You're making memories . . .

  4. sooo...don't offer don't refuse? :-P

    Funny - after C woke up from his nap yesterday He said he was dreaming about cake and cookies, and asked if we could make something. How could I turn that down? We made chocolate chip cookies, but I told him he had to help me with the whole thing since it was his idea. :oD

  5. I actually figured out how to print this out and I will try it this week. Thanks. Will read the book too.