Cranberry-Orange Pecan Bread
adapted from Chow
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 medium orange (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 2 medium oranges)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick), melted and cooled slightly, plus more for coating the pan
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole cranberries, thawed if frozen, sliced in half
1/2 cup (2 oz) pecan chips
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with butter; set aside.
Place the flour, sugar, orange zest, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps. Add the orange juice, melted butter, egg, and vanilla and stir with a spoon or rubber spatula until just combined. Stir in the cranberries and nuts, if using, until evenly distributed.
Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan, pushing it into the corners and smoothing the top. Bake for about one hour, or until golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
When the bread has about 5 minutes cooking time left, bring 1/3 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup orange juice to boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Once removed from the oven, pierce the top of the hot loaf several time with a cooking chopstick (or small knife) without touching the bottom of the loaf in pan. Pour the hot sugar mixture over the loaf.
Cool for 30 minutes in pan on a wire rack, then turn bread out of pan and cool completely on rack.
So damn addictive, this one. I am a major quick bread kick. It started with the basic Banana Bread, graduated to variations on that theme, then moved on to the fruit and nut ones. I am a sucker for easy baking, especially when it yields such delicious results.
Big kudos to Steve: the first loaf I made of this, it had no glaze. He suggested I do an orange sugar, the same as the lemon sugar that goes on my Blueberry Lemon Bread. GENIUS. It made it twice as amazing. Even better – since this bread recipe seems to solve the softness/cracking issue I have with THAT one, I have it in mind to redo that bread with this recipe’s ratios. Trading one bits of a recipe for another’s bits of a recipe to make the perfect result. Love that.