Saturday, January 3, 2009

Apple Cranberry Bread

Okay everybody, raise your hand if you LOVE January.

. . .

I agree. You know why? Nothing happens in January. The holidays are over. And it's just cold. Sure, it's cold in December too, but December cold is purposeful because it's Christmas time. December cold is fun because you cozy up by the fireplace and sip peppermint cocoa and listen to Bing Crosby sing about the weather. January cold isn't nearly as picturesque.

No offense to anyone with a January birthday, but January is sort of a boring month. Sort of like August.

Baking in January doesn't hold quite the same excitement for me, either. It's the end of seasonal, traditional holiday foods, with pumpkin and cranberries and apples and walnuts and oranges, and those delicious spices that rise from the oven and make your kitchen smell like the North Pole. What do you eat in January? Maybe tater tots? I'm at a loss here.

Well, I'm not entirely at a loss, because I'm being a little rebellious--I'm not ready to let go of my Christmas recipes yet. So I pulled out some fresh cranberries that have been hiding away in my freezer for a day like today, and I put them to good use.

This bread is scrumptious any time of year, providing you've got some cranberries on hand. The apple flavor is more of a backdrop than you'd expect--you won't be hit over the head with apple, but let's be honest, the cranberries and cinnamon are the real showstoppers here.

Apple Cranberry Bread

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups peeled and grated tart apple
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the oil, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. The batter will be very thick.

Mix in the grated apples and the cranberries. The juice from the apples will thin the batter slightly. Stir in nuts if desired.

Pour batter evenly into two prepared 4x8 loaf pans. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Serve warm, or wrap overnight to soften.

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