Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cranberry-Lemon Bread

Happy Feast of Saint Nicholas!

For those unfamiliar, the 6th of December is a day set aside to commemorate Saint Nicholas, the historic 4th-century Bishop and Saint who is the inspiration for Santa Claus.  According to legend, Saint Nicholas  had a reputation for secret gift-giving, particularly in the form of placing coins in shoes that were left outside.  On the Feast of Saint Nicholas, children all over the world wake up to find their shoes filled with treats, traditionally chocolate gold coins.

After we were married, Paul and I filled each other's shoes with various treats in order to continue this tradition.  He normally filled my running shoes (yum!) with dark chocolate and I normally stuffed some type of cheese ball/cheese spread/cheese dip (sense a theme?) along with appropriately paired crackers in his winter boots.  Last year, we presented Matthew with his very first Saint Nicholas Day gifts and he was less than impressed. He received a small board book about the nativity and a box of animal crackers. However, he was in such a foul mood that he pretty much refused to look at it until he had woken up a little bit more.

Thankfully, this year he wakes up in a pretty good mood most of the time.

Unfortunately, that meant he was up by 4:30 AM.

Paul and I let him sit in his bedroom for about an hour before we went to free him. He was perfectly content. He had a book all about puppies that our local Humane Society had given him and he was content just sitting in his crib, barking at the dogs in the pictures.

Once we got him up, he ran downstairs and saw his shoe filled with pretzel M&Ms, a Thomas the Tank Engine sticker book, and a snack pack of Nutter Butters (I'm secretly hoping he doesn't like those so I can have a couple!). He was thrilled...especially by the idea that his magical shoe had somehow given birth to treats overnight. By 5:30, he had gobbled down all the M&Ms and was already searching the interior of all his shoes (his boots, his dress shoes, his sandals, etc.) for more treats.  He's going to be searching for an awful long time, because the Feast of Saint Nicholas comes but once a year!

For breakfast this morning, along with the normal feast of oatmeal and bananas, we enjoyed the first seasonal baked good: Cranberry Lemon Bread.  This is probably my favorite quick bread recipe because it is light, lemony, slightly tangy, and not to sweet.  I was surprised by how much Matthew appeared to love the recipe since the cranberries can be a bit tart.  However, he greedily gobbled down multiple slices in between desperate searches for more chocolate.  The little sugar addict.

This recipe is adapted from the Cranberry Nut Bread recipe found on the bags of Ocean Spray Fresh Cranberries. Their version calls for orange juice and zest, which is absolutely delicious, but I cannot resist making a lemon version.

Cranberry-Lemon Bread
adapted from Ocean Spray

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg, well beaten
1 1/2 cups Fresh or Frozen Cranberries, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in milk, lemon juice, lemon peel, oil and egg. Mix until well blended. Fold in cranberries. Spread evenly in loaf pan.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (be careful not to over or under-bake!). Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife along the sides, and then carefully remove from the pan and allow to cool completely on wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing and serving.


  1. I cannot wait to make this recipe..I have so many fresh (now frozen) cranberries from the recipe of cranberry sauce I made for Thanksgiving. I cannot wait. My mouth is watering looking at the recipe.

  2. I was very excited to make this recipe, but it was very dry. I read over the steps three times and knew that I had done it correctly, but when I looked again at the ingredients, I realize that the milk had not be mentioned in the steps so I completely forgot it. My fault for not readling ALL of the ingredients, but wnated you to know so you can change it for dummies like me.

  3. Whoops! I'm sorry - I will fix it right away! Please try it again in the future because it is really an awesome bread!

  4. Can I use dried cranberries as well? Does the recipe need to be adjusted? Thanks

  5. I'm sure you could use dried cranberries and get a pretty tasty bread - they just obviously won't be as juicy! I would just be sure to plump them in some hot water for 5-10 minutes before draining well and adding to the batter.

  6. SO good, thank you for sharing! Moist, perfectly sweet + tart, and easy to make. Adding this to my regular fall/winter recipe rotation.

  7. I made 2 loaves of this bread today. I love the texture and flavor, but both loaves fell in the middle. I live at a high elevation...3600 feet. Could this be the problem?

    1. Hmmmm...I have never had the loaves fall in the center. I suppose the elevation could have something to do with it. Also, if the loaves were not yet completely done baking in the center, they would fall while cooling. I'm sorry I'm not more help!

    2. Well, I baked them for 55 minutes and my cake tester indicated that they were done. Thanks!