This Cranberry Pecan Bread was an unplanned treat at our cabin this weekend. As I enthusiastically marked recipe after recipe that I want to try from my new cookbook, Cook's Illustrated Baking Book by America's Test Kitchen (which, by the way, is a thing of beauty in all its black-and-white splendor), I got the itch to bake while my Hubby was outdoors. It was a fluffy beautiful snowy day and warm baked treats were an absolute necessity! I just happened to have all the ingredients laying around for this quick bread, so I gave it a try. Very good choice, if I do say so myself. This bread is delightfully moist and filled with pops of tart red cranberries, and the sweet pecan crunch is an added bonus. I don't usually love nuts in bread, but it definitely adds a lot to this bread. In fact, I may even add a few more pecans next time. All in all, a perfect holiday treat.
Cranberry Pecan Bread
Credit: Cook's Illustrated Baking Book by America's Test Kitchen
⅔ cup buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon grated orange zest plus ⅓ cup orange juice (I don't use zest...just my own personal preference)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cups (5 ¼ ounces) fresh or frozen (not thawed) cranberries, chopped coarse (I left mine whole)
½ cup pecans (or walnuts), toasted and chopped coarse
1. Melt the butter. Set aside and allow to cool.
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees F.
3. Grease 8 ½ by 4 ½-inch loaf pan. In a small bowl, stir together liquid ingredients: buttermilk, melted butter, orange zest and juice, vanilla, and egg. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir liquid ingredients into dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just moistened. Gently stir in pecans and cranberries (do not overmix).
4. Scrape batter into loaf pan and spread with rubber spatula into corners of pan. Bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 55-75 minutes (mine took nearly 70 minutes), rotating pan after the first 30 minutes of baking time. Let loaf cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack and let cool for 1 hour before serving.