Glazed Orange Cranberry Bread

With a whirlwind of events packed into a brief time of year, it’s relieving to know there’s an all-star recipe in your back pocket perfect for any holiday occasion.

What makes up such a golden recipe?

For starters, the treat must wear many hats.  Teeny, tiny baby bakery hats.  Aw.

The important characteristics are as follows:

1.  It must be inexpensive.  Although a chocolate turtle cheesecake is drool-worthy, it comes with a hefty price tag so it wouldn’t be my first choice to have in tow for every festive fiesta this season.

And that cheesecake helps demonstrate the next requirement as well:  2.  It must be low maintenance.  Between the water bath for the cake bake itself, the thermometer assistance for the caramel, and the fridge on wheels to maintain its natural habitat, that sucker is the needy boyfriend/girlfriend of the dessert world.  (And no, I don’t have a fridge on wheels, but I’m not opposed to being accompanied by such a companion)

3.  It must be seasonal– in the mother nature sort of way.  Raspberry brownies are pretty inexpensive and low maintenance, but finding any berry in winter that is authentically deep pink and ripe without chemical assistance is vraiment difficile.  And if you do, it most likely breaks rule number 1.

4.  It must be portable.  Not important, you say?  Pop quiz hot shot:  Your elaborate gingerbread town is loosely wrapped in foil so as not to wake any spicy men from their smiling, sugary slumber.  You make it through the car ride holding the pan in the air every time your driver swerves admiring his beard-grooming skills in the rear view mirror.  New black lace pumps on your uncertain feet, two grandmas determined to engage you in a long “When I was young” conversation the moment you step in the house and the coat hanging tango all stand between you and the dessert table.  What do you do to keep that plate of fragile, innocent Christmas soldiers from becoming the worst massacre in the history of the holiday?

What DO you do?

My point exactly.

And finally,

5.  It must be totally and utterly freakin’ delicious!  I will take the luxury of assuming we are all on the same page with this.

Not only is my offering inexpensive, low maintenance, seasonal, portable and delicious, but it dares to push the limits by also being perfect for both breakfast and dessert.  Enter Glazed Orange Cranberry Bread.

It’s a complete crowd pleaser with the sweet and tart flavors of cranberry and orange in an iced, cake-like experience but with more body for greater satisfaction.

Sweet enough to enjoy as a dessert but not so overdone to make a breakfast coffee pairing undesirable.  The voluptuous glaze throws itself upon the golden brown crust to be sure all those divine flavors stay inside and marry with time.   I even recommend this be made a day ahead.  More moist and more flavor which means more time for you to practice walking in those new pumps before show time.

Oh, and did I mention this beautiful brick ‘o yum is as festive as can be?

No?   Well, I figured I didn’t even need to say that since the bright ruby speckles have likely already hypnotized you into a jolly holly trance.  It’s as if Santa himself sent his microscopic flavor elves to my kitchen to whiz through the bread’s air tunnels and decorate each cluster of crumbs with a tart cranberry jewel.

Well done, Santa.  Well done.

Let me show you how to make one.  (You can put down the gingerbread village.  It’s smooth riding ahead…promise.)

Gather tasty rounds, both big and small.

Sprinkle Christmas confetti into a sweet batter.

Wait for just the right moment to…

Let the citrus sea lock in the love.

Glazed Orange Cranberry Bread

Tart and sweet are married in this delicious dessert bread.  With colors bright for both fall and winter events, this is a great ending for a holiday dinner, best served with a cup of coffee.  The citrus orange glaze seems to secure in all the tasty flavor while capping the loaf with a sweet pop in each bite.  Easy and satisfying, this is a great way to celebrate the season.

Ingredients

Bread

  • 1 C chopped cranberries (a few pulses in the food processor will get you there)
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 1/3 C grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 C well shaken buttermilk
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt

Orange Glaze

  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 3 T fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 1/2 C powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a loaf pan.
  2. For the bread, use a medium sized bowl to whisk together all of the wet ingredients.
  3. Separately, stir together all of the dry ingredients and then mix the dry into the wet. Don’t over-mix the batter, but do mix until it becomes a uniform color.  Once combined, pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out of the center of the bread with only moistened crumbs on it and top is gently firm.
  4. For the glaze, whisk together the juice and zest.  Sift the powdered sugar into the juice and whisk to combine.  Once the bread has cooled slightly, pour glaze over bread in two batches.  Wait a minute between the two to give the first layer a moment to set up.  Allow to cool to room temperature and enjoy!
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