I hope you all had a peaceful holiday full of family, friends, fun and food! There was a lot of cooking and preparing on my end, but once the festivities began, I was able to relax a bit. I hope the same was for you. We had family over (a total of 17) for Christmas Brunch over at my mom's house. It's the first time we've ever done brunch for this holiday and I have to say, it was a nice change to the usual turkey and ham- though I love that too.
Since I was so pressed for time this year, I wasn't able to make the dozens of cookies that I am known to make. I was a little bummed about it because I had such grand plans conjured up in my head, but all I was able to crank out of my kitchen for gifts was this bread. But it's a fabulous bread, so that's okay. This recipe comes straight from the Cranberry people themselves- Ocean Spray. That just goes to show that the recipes on the back of the bag deserve to be made- they're there for a reason. I tripled this recipe and made 2 loaves for my neighbors and I froze one to share with the family at Christmas brunch. This recipe also makes really great and addictive muffins. The fresh orange flavor really shines through and it's low in fat. Shhhh....I won't tell if you don't.
I bought this stoneware wreath mold from Williams-Sonoma last December at their after Christmas sale. I got it on clearance for about $9, but I never used it until this past Thanksgiving when I made the classic molded cranberry sauce from their website. It really was delicious, but my family kept calling it "fancy Jello", which irked me a bit 'cause it took a lot longer to make than Jello. I could have just made the boxed stuff for ease, but this was SO much better! Eh, I'll get over it :-) If you don't have a mold, you can just use a bowl or a small bundt pan, but do make it. Also excellent on leftover turkey sandwiches.
Cranberry Orange Bread from Ocean Spray
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 1 egg, well beaten
- 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in orange juice, orange peel, shortening and egg. Mix until well blended.
Stir in cranberries and nuts, if using. Spread evenly in loaf pan.
Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely. Wrap and store overnight.
Makes 1 loaf (16 slices)
Molded Cranberry Orange Sauce from Williams-Sonoma
- 1 lb. fresh cranberries
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbs. sugar
- Zest of 2 oranges
- 2/3 cup fresh orange juice
- Pinch of salt
- 2/3 cup plus 2 Tbs. cold water
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
Lightly coat the inside of a ceramic cranberry mold with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cranberries, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, salt and the 2/3 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and the cranberries have burst, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour the 2 Tbs. water into a small bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let stand until the gelatin softens and swells, 5 to 10 minutes.
Spoon 1/2 cup of the juices from the cranberries into the gelatin and stir until the gelatin has dissolved. Pour the gelatin mixture into the cranberry mixture and stir to combine.
Pour the cranberry mixture into the prepared mold and let cool to room temperature. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to overnight.
To unmold, dip the mold into a large bowl of warm water so the water reaches almost to the rim of the mold. Remove from the water and run a small paring knife or spatula around the inside of the mold to loosen it. Place a serving platter upside down on top of the mold, invert the platter and mold together and shake gently. Then lift off the mold.
Serves 12 to 16.
NOTE: I pureed, then strained the cranberry mixture before adding it to the gelatin, for a smoother texture.
On a side note, this is my most favorite gift that I received this year from my hubby. Actually, it was my favorite gift from anyone. It's special to me, because he made them with his own two talented hands. They're made with black walnut, cherry and maple woods. Ahhh, LOVE.
Hope you have a safe weekend. Happy New Year!