Yes. I am aware that it is 82 degrees out. I did my, what is becoming more common, 4.2 mile run around noon, and got a sense of what the weather is like. I also got visibly more tan in the fifty or so minutes I was outside.
That is why, immediately after returning from my run, I made popsicles (more on that later). Right after drinking some cold water, and before taking off my shoes, showering, or even wiping my face.
Despite all that, I did, a few days ago, make what is traditionally a fall and winter staple: orange cranberry walnut loaf.
It is a stereotype that orange and cranberry bread can exist as a combination only from the beginning of November to the end of December. But what are stereotypes if not misconceptions?
This bread is fabulous. I have been making it for a couple years now, and it is a tradition for me to prepare it the night before Christmas so my family and I can munch on it Christmas morning. The bread is exceptionally moist and tender, despite the minimal amount of butter. This is due to the orange juice, which also, along with the orange zest, enhances the very prominent orange flavor one detects in eating this loaf. I used fresh cranberries that I had stashed in the freezer sometime last winter; the cranberries are tart little surprises, and they contribute greatly to the overall fresh flavor of this bread. Walnuts add the perfect crunch.
Basically, my message is this: Ignore that it is June and go make this delicious loaf right now. Make it into muffins, if you so please, or even mini loaves, such as I did.
Orange Cranberry Loaf
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (or a blend of a 1:1 ratio of whole wheat and white, as I did)
- 1/2 tspn baking soda
- 1 1/2 tspns baking powder
- 1/2 tspn salt
- zest of one orange
- 1 1/2 cups roughly chopped cranberries, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
- 1/4 cup (or 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 5" loaf pan, or three mini 5 x 3" loaf pans.
- Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter, egg and sugar either with a wooden spoon or electric mixer. Both will work, and I used a wooden spoon.
- Add orange zest and juice. Blend well.
- Stir in the dry mixture. Make sure to not overmix.
- Spoon batter into pan, and bake about an hour, if using one regular loaf pan. If using the mini loaf pans, bake about 30 minutes, or until golden. A tester or knife inserted in the middle should come out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before removing from pans.
- Store in an airtight container.