Dear blogging world, contrary to evidence that suggests I have fallen off the face of the earth, I am alive and well. I’ve missed you. I thought of you often over the course of this semester, especially when contemplating whether or not I should: 1) eat Chex Mix for dinner the third night in a row, or 2) tote dishes, utensils, and ingredients back and forth between my room and the kitchen to make boxed mac ‘n cheese. (Chex Mix usually wins.)
I also thought of you every time we celebrated my friends’ birthdays with box-mix brownies baked in a disposable pan with some candles stuck in haphazardly – you know, the usual… But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. With the signing of our first apartment leases for next fall, my suitemates and I are officially on our merry way to adulthood, where there are kitchens! And living rooms! (And also bills to pay and furniture to buy, but we don’t need to talk about that.) Staying on campus for sophomore year has been convenient and fun, but we’re all ready to move on and have a place of our own. I’m sure my housemates will learn to love when the food gets cold because I don’t let them them eat until I take pictures of it…
This cranberry orange quickbread is the first time I’ve used fresh cranberries in baking instead of dried Craisins; the tartness of the fruit is the perfect compliment to the subtle sweetness of the orange bread. The original recipe makes one regular loaf, but I had these mini loaf pan liners that matched perfectly so I divided the batter among four mini pans. I love giving mini quickbreads as gifts around Christmastime – they’re cute and easily packaged, unlike cupcakes or cookies that inevitably get smashed or broken.
P.S. I discovered that we ran out of flour at home in the middle of making this recipe. Usually it’s not a big deal when this happens, because we live right next to a grocery store. It was Christmas Eve though, and never have I ever seen the parking lot as crazy as it was that day. Trying to find a spot was like the Hunger Games, and I’m pretty sure it made me so anxious I forgot to breathe until I was safely inside the store. Never again. On that note, I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends!
Recipe: Cranberry Orange Quickbread
- For the bread:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Zest of 1 large orange
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare four mini loaf pans: if using non-disposable mini loaf pans, grease or line with parchment paper and butter. Set them on a cookie sheet.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. In a small bowl, combine sugar and orange zest. Rub together with your fingers until fragrant. Whisk into the flour mixture and set aside.
- In another medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, orange juice, and vanilla. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring just until combined. Fold in the cranberries, making sure not to pop them. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan(s) and place the cookie sheet with pans on top in the oven.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. If the tops of the loaves start to brown but the toothpick isn’t clean, drape a piece of foil over the top to finish baking.
- Remove loaves from oven and cool on a cooling rack. Wait until completely cool before packaging.
Number of servings (yield): 4 mini loaves
Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod