This cranberry orange pecan bread, with its perfect balance of tart and sweet, is so lovely it doesn’t even need a schmear of butter. Lovely for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning—or any morning, for that matter.
This cranberry orange pecan bread has a subtle sweetness and slight tartness that makes it a welcome respite from whatever you’re doing any time of day, any time of year. It also makes a terrific gift, which is why the recipe makes not one but two loaves—one to gift, one to keep. Originally published November 10, 2009.–Renee Schettler Rossi
*How To Bake With Cranberries
We’re quite smitten with the jarring tartness that happens when you bite into a burst of cranberry in this cranberry orange bread. But don’t be tempted to leave the cranberries whole in this recipe or any quick bread or coffee cake recipe. Why? Whole cranberries tend to float to the surface rather than staying pleasingly dispersed throughout the baked good. There’s a simple way to remedy this. Simply pulse the cranberries in your food processor until coarsely chopped but not mushy and then toss them in your quick bread batter. [Editor’s Note: We advise against attempting to chop fresh cranberries with a knife on a cutting board given just how maddeningly roly-poly they can be. It’s not only frustrating but a wee bit dangerous.]
Cranberry Orange Pecan Bread
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 1 H, 30 M
- Makes 2 loaves
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk (either low-fat or full-fat)
- Zest and juice from 1 large orange (about 1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated zest plus 1/4 cup juice)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup mild vegetable or olive oil, plus more for the pans
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 3/4 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen (do not thaw if using frozen cranberries)
- 1/2 cup pecans, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly oil and flour two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans.
- 2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
- 3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, orange zest and juice, and vanilla.
- 4. Using a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and oil on medium-high speed until thoroughly combined and somewhat sandy. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the eggs. Increase the speed to medium and continue to mix for 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low again and add 1/3 of the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 1 minute. Add half the buttermilk mixture and mix briefly to incorporate. Repeat with the remaining buttermilk mixture and the remaining dry ingredients, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary and stirring only as long as is required to completely combine the ingredients.
- 5. Coarsely chop the cranberries in your food processor. (See *How To Bake With Cranberries above.) Gently stir the cranberries and pecans into the batter, being careful not to overmix. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans so that each is slightly more than half full.
- 6. Bake the cranberry orange pecan bread, rotating the pans every 20 minutes or so, until the loaves are golden brown with cracked tops and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. You want to start checking the bread at 45 minutes, although it could take as long as 75 minutes. Let cool in the pans for at least 10 minutes and then turn the loaves onto a wire rack to cool completely.
How To Make Cranberry Orange Pecan Muffins or Mini Loaves
- If you prefer to make muffins or mini loaves of cranberry orange pecan bread to gift, simply divvy the batter among 12- to 18-cup muffin tins or 6 mini-loaf pans and start checking for doneness after 15 minutes for muffins, 25 minutes for mini loaves.
Recipe Testers Reviews
Polish your best silver tray. This cranberry orange pecan bread deserves royal treatment. It’s the right kind of quick bread to serve along with your holiday spread. Morning, noon, or night, this bread is for any hour of the day when you just want to spoil yourself or your guests. Citrus scents and tart cranberries make this loaf a joy to eat. You can make it in short order, and it’ll keep moist for days, or you can freeze it for later. Just be sure to pick up extra bags of fresh cranberries in the fall and freeze them. One loaf won’t be enough because your silver tray won’t stay full for long.