One of my husband’s favorite childhood memories about Christmas is his grandmother making loaves and loaves of this cranberry bread. Whether he celebrated Christmas at home in Oklahoma or at his grandparent’s house in Texas, he would wake up to trays of this bread coming out of the oven all buttery and toasty on Christmas morning. We have continued the tradition by making several dozen loaves each year as soon as cranberries come into season. Since this bread freezes so well, we will make a couple of quadruple batches of the recipe and freeze them so we can enjoy cranberry bread throughout the year. See the recipe Notes for tips on freezing the bread.
Although this bread is good just sliced and served, it is really meant to be sliced, generously buttered, toasted and served warm. A cup of your favorite coffee or tea is the perfect accompaniment. This bread is not as sweet as your typical morning breakfast quick breads. The sugar and orange juice are just sweet enough to tame the tartness of the cranberries without making you feel like you are eating a slice of cake for breakfast (not that there is anything wrong with that). It’s just right for nibbling on while opening gifts.
So, if you are still searching for something festive to serve on Christmas morning, look no further. This cranberry bread comes together very quickly thanks to the help of a food processor for slicing the cranberries. You can make a couple of loaves now and store them in an airtight container until you are ready to serve. Then, just slice, butter, and toast it. Happy holiday memories will soon follow.
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 cup orange juice
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 cup raw cranberries, chopped or sliced (see Notes)
- ¾ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)
- Softened butter, for serving
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk sugar, flour, baking powder, and baking soda together until evenly mixed. Stir in egg, oil, orange juice, and orange zest. Add cranberries and nuts and mix to combine. Pour batter into two 8x2½-inch paper loaf pans or one greased 9x5-inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour or until cake tester comes out clean.
- To serve, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice the bread into ½-inch thick slices and spread softened butter on to one side of each slice. Lay slices buttered side up in a single layer on a baking sheet then bake in oven until lightly browned, 10-15 minutes.
This bread freezes very well. Once the bread has cooled, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap, then wrap it in aluminum foil. If the bread was baked in a glass or metal loaf pan, remove the bread from the pan before wrapping it. If it was baked in a paper loaf pan, you can leave it in the loaf pan to wrap it.