‘Cran’ your face with this holiday bread

I think I was only vaguely aware of what a cranberry was when I was a kid.

Craisins were introduced when I was about 10, so I was firmly entrenched in loving just raisins by then, and while I think I’d tried the cranberry sauce that comes in a can and is sliced up for Thanksgiving dinner, I’m not sure I knew what it was—just that it was delicious.

As an adult, I’ve fully embraced all things cranberry. I love them dried, in all forms of Jell-O and in juice form.

I was feeling a bit brave, so I bought a bag of fresh cranberries, and then I searched the Internet until I found a recipe that seemed easy for my maiden voyage with fresh cranberries.

I definitely found a winner from the “Better Homes & Gardens” website. You can find the original at http://amp.bhg.com/recipe/quickbreads/cranberry-nut-bread/. I doubled the cinnamon in my version.

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Cranberry Nut Bread

Ingredients

1-1/3 cups sugar

1/2 cup toasted pecans or walnuts, chopped finely

4 teaspoons cinnamon

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup milk

1/3 cup oil (I used canola)

1 cup fresh cranberries, roughly chopped

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour a loaf pan and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup of the sugar, nuts and cinnamon and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining cup of sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in the egg and then stir in the milk and oil until everything is just combined, and then fold in the cranberries. It will be a lumpy batter.

Pour half of the batter into the loaf pan and evenly sprinkle in half the sugar, cinnamon, nuts mixture. Add the other half of the batter and top with the remaining cinnamon mixture.

Place a knife straight down into the batter and swirl it around a bit to marble the bread.

Bake for about an hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the bread cool for about 20 minutes, remove from the pan and then cool completely. Store the bread overnight in an airtight container or bag before slicing to get clean slices.

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This is so, so good. It’s great for a dessert or for breakfast, too, so if you have some folks staying at your house for the holidays or you just want some holiday flavors in the morning, I’d suggest this bread as an excellent way to start the day along with your morning cup of coffee.

It’s probably for the best that younger me didn’t fully experience cranberries. She might not have appreciated them as much as older me does, and now I have some new holiday traditions—and recipes—to enjoy.

Lindsey Young is managing editor of The Clarion, the Kansas Publishing Ventures newspaper in Andale. She can be reached at lindseyclarion@gmail.com.