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Cranberry Pecan Bread (Cranberries are here!!!)

I might not care very much about pumpkin—but cranberries are a different story. I love cranberries and will find as many ways as possible to eat them in the coming months. I will also fill my freezer with them before they go out of season so that I can be eating them throughout the winter and spring. This simple quick bread seemed like a good use of my first bag of fresh cranberries. It is easy to put together and is really delicious. Unlike some breads, this one is light and fresh tasting and subtly sweet. The addition of orange juice and orange zest really adds to the freshness of this. We have been eating it for breakfast and it it great lightly toasted in the toaster oven. This is the first of what will likely be many cranberry recipes that I’ll post here in the coming months.

Cranberry Pecan Bread (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out extra.

Stir together the orange zest, orange juice, buttermilk, butter, and egg in a small bowl. [At this point I freaked out because the buttermilk looked like it curdled a little with the addition of orange juice. This didn’t seem to matter because the bread came out perfectly—so don’t freak out.] Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients with a spatula until just moistened. Gently stir in the cranberries and pecans. Do not overmix. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° F; continue to bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes longer. Cool in the pan 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool at least 1 hour before serving. The bread can then be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for several days.

***The recipe makes one loaf but I would guess that you could double this if you wanted to. It would be nice to have one to give as a gift or bring to work.