Cranberry Bread

Snow in the forecast!  That usually means baking around here.  Too early for Christmas cookies, but there's nothing like cranberries to seem like November, right?

When you teach your children at home AND love to cook, very often school translates to the kitchen.  One of our favorite childrens' books is Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin.  It was published in 1971 and the lovely illustrations reflect this.  The story is timeless - being a friend to those who are friendless, along with not judging a person by their outer self.  When Maggie gets to invite someone to dinner on Thanksgiving, her grandmother advises her, "Ask someone poor or lonely."  Amen.

The other great line from the book is regarding the dinner itself.  " . . . everything cooked with crisp edges and tender centers."  Amen again!

And any book with a hero named Uriah Peabody has GOT to be good.

This is my slightly modified version of the recipe that is included with the book.  Buy the book, get it from the library, or borrow it from me, and read it to your family at least a dozen times in the next two weeks.

Cranberry Bread

2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 scant cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons cold butter
3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 beaten egg
1 tablespoon grated or zested and chopped orange peel
2 cups chopped cranberries, either fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a glass (or metal) 9 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, powder, salt, and soda.  Cut in butter until coarse crumbs form (use a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingers in a rubbing motion).  Stir in the orange peel, then the juice and egg.  Fold in the cranberries.

Spoon batter into the prepared loaf pan, and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Serve, as Maggie's grandmother did, with "pale, sweet butter."
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