A Bag of Cranberries aka Cranberry Apple Pecan Chocolate Chip Bread
(Subtitle: Baking a Batch of Cranberry-Apple-Pecan-Chocolate-Chip Bread) ((Sub-Subtitle: Recipe After a Rant))When I buy a dozen eggs from my farm share, I neither expect to use them all up in a single recipe nor get cranky when I have some left over. Same with a package of bread. Or cheese sticks. Or mushrooms. Or carrots. Or pepperoni. You get the idea.
But a bag of cranberries? Something that is such a seasonal item, and comes in 1 size only?
I'm just not jiggy with recipes that call for part of a bag of cranberries. Yes, I know I can freeze cranberries. In fact, I've got a few bags in my fruit & veg freezer right now. Fifty cents a bag at Aldi--couldn't pass it up. They are sitting on top of the bags of blueberries put up during Aldi's 49 cent pint sale in the summer. But this blog is not about Aldi deals, it's about using what you've got. All of it.
Updated with a photo of a finished loaf! [I'm still ranting about the inequality of it all, however.]
|Because I was in such a hurry to get the finished 'good' loaf to the function, I never took a photo.|
When I open up a bag of cranberries, I want to use the whole thing all at once. When I make my Apple/Apricot/Beet/Cranberry sauce, I do. You probably do when you make your own version of cranberry sauce, right? So why does the bread recipe on the bag of Ocean Spray cranberries, the bag that contains 2+ cups of whole cranberries, call for a mere 1 1/2 cups?
Today, I needed to make a loaf of quick bread for a school function. I wanted something that would appeal to kids while using up a whole bag of cranberries in the process. I looked in the crisper and saw some lonely apples, looked in the freezer and saw an open bag of pecan parts, grabbed the chips and got to work. Come join me!
|Yes, it was daytime when I started this venture. Ignore the shortening, I used oil instead.|
|Cut 'em in half. Then in half again. Then cut out the core. Easy Peasy. Time to feed the pigs.|
Prepare the Fruit Base
1 bag cranberries (mine were fresh, frozen is fine)
2 medium apples (I had a Braeburn and a Gala, but I'd love to have a Larry)
1 1/2 cups pecan parts (you're going to chop them, so don't waste $ on pecan halves)
Toss the rinsed cranberries into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to get them started breaking into smaller bits. Scrape down the bowl. Core and coarsely chop the apples (mine totalled 2 cups) giving the cores to the composting pigs who will wheek about it and try to steal from each other. Add the apples to the food processor and pulse a few more times. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the pecans. Chop until everything is fairly uniform in size, but not so far that you get a paste. You should have enough of this mixture for 4 9 x 5 inch loaves plus a bonus batch of muffins (recipe to follow).
If you're doing a large batch of breads for gifts, measure out 1 1/2 cups for each loaf into a bowl. Or series of bowls, one per bread, if you're like me and despite my lovely kitchen scale, cannot get even amounts into a series of pans.
If you just want to make just one loaf, for that school function that is still due tonight, say, because you weren't paying close enough attention the first time you made this recipe today and forgot to set the timer and the breads cratered, grab 4 freezer containers, label them, and put 1 1/2 cups in each of 3 of them for the 3 loaves, 1 cup in the final container for the bonus muffins, and take the remaining 1 1/2 cups of mixture for this:
Cranberry Apple Pecan Chocolate Chip Bread
(adapted from the Ocean Spray bread recipe on the bag)
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (I'm loving White Whole Wheat)
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Penzey's Baking Spice (or cinnamon-nutmeg-etc blend)
1 Tablespoon grated orange peel
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large egg
3/4 cup (180 ml) apple cider
1 1/2 cups chopped cranberry-apple-pecan mixture from above
1/3 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a loaf pan (mine was 9x5). In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. I consider orange peel a dry ingredient (unless you're overrun with Band Fruit Fundraiser oranges and have a microplane zester handy). Because I had a separate bowl dirty from the above fruit food processor foolishness, I whisked up the wet ingredients (oil, egg, cider) in a separate bowl before pouring them into the large bowl. Stir briefly to combine, then add the fruit mixture. Stir it a bit more, then add the chips, and give it a final stir. Transfer to prepared pan, SET THE OVEN TIMER, and bake for 55 minutes. Don't trust the toothpick trick--I sure don't.
|The toothpick came out clean. Both times.|