Cranberry Pecan Bread with Sharp Cheddar

Every year for more than a couple of decades I have made cranberry dishes for our family’s Thanksgiving gathering.  This is one of my favorites.  It evolved from a recipe book I bought from a door-to-door salesman back in the mid 80’s.  I hadn’t changed it much in years, but since starting this blog I have decided it was time.  I make two loafs every year, so we don’t run out too quickly.  My family is good sized and we usually have around 30 people for dinner.  We travel to Wichita Kansas to gather.  This bread is better the next day, so it travels well.

I give the recipe for one loaf.  If making two, do not double the recipe.  This has so much in it that a good quality stand mixer is what I recommend and use.  I prepare all the ingredients and then mix each one up separately and bake them at the same time.  This year I decided to substitute some of the sugar with maple syrup and molasses and added cinnamon and nutmeg as well.  My boys give the new mix 2 thumbs up.

You’ll need:

2 cups fresh cranberries, halved

1 cup each unbleached white and whole wheat flour

1 Tbs baking powder (aluminum free please)

1/2 tsp table salt

1/2 cup raw sugar (or maple syrup/molasses combination)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1 cup low fat milk

1 egg

grated zest of 1 orange

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Halve the cranberries and set aside.

In a separate bowl (not the mixer’s bowl)  combine the dry ingredients.  Then add berries and nuts, coating them well.

In the mixer’s bowl combine milk, maple syrup, molasses, egg, orange zest and butter.  Mix well.

Now alternately add dry ingredients and cheese to mixer (I usually spit each into 3 adds)  until it just comes together.  Do not overmix.  (See note above about what mixers will work.)

Pour into a 9x5x3 greased pan.  (I use butter and one of those stoneware loaf pans that gives you a great crust)  Spread evenly and into corners.  Bake for one hour or until bread tests done (toothpick comes out clean).  Cool for 10 minutes.  Invert bread on rack and cool completely before slicing.  Its great if you can let  it rest overnight and slice in the morning.  It will crumble if you try to slice it too soon.  Enjoy!

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