Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Orange Cranberry Loaf

I made this recently to share with friends while we talked about food...what else do foodie friends do when they get together!!! We all LOVED eating this loaf. In fact, we all ate more than the "polite" serving cause it was just so good.  And requests were made for the recipe so here it is!

Hope you have some time to bake this for your friends and family this winter too.  I currently have one in my oven to enjoy with a good friend later today.  Food is so worth sharing. 

Oh yeah, credit for this original goes to my mother in-law, who got it from "Aunt Minka" , who got it from a cookbook called "Schmecks Appeal" - definite Dutch or Mennonite roots in that word "Schmecks"!   Love it!  I just swapped out the wheat and sugars!

Orange Cranberry Loaf

2 cups spelt flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp xanthan gum (optional)*
1/4 cup butter - room temperature
1 egg - lightly beaten
3/4 cup orange juice - fresh is best*
3/4 cup apple butter * or palm sugar
grated rind of 1 orange or 3 drops Wild Orange oil*
1 - 1 1/2 cup fresh cranberries - chopped*
1/2 cup nuts of choice (optional)
* See Cook's notes below

In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients (flour, salt, soda, powder, and xanthan gum). Cut in the butter until it creates a fine crumb (or you can basically not tell it is there).
In another bowl, whip/whisk the egg, add the juice and apple butter and mix well.  Add the wet to the dry ingredients and mix until it is just moist.  Gently fold in the cranberries and nuts.

Using a loaf pan (approx 4 x 8)., line it with parchment paper for easy removal of the baked loaf.   Pour the batter in the loaf pan.  Spread the batter to the sides and corners so it is lower in the middle - this helps to avoid a high center that is unbaked.

Bake at 350 F for 1 hour.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes before removing from the pan.  Allow it to cool another 10 minutes before slicing.  Serve with a hot beverage and enjoy with a friend!  Really the best if eaten the day it is made.  It is so low in fat that it tends to dry out quickly.

For muffins, scoop the batter into 12 muffin cups (greased) and bake for 18 - 20 minutes.

Cook's Notes:
Xanthan Gum: this is a white powder that helps the crumb to stay together.  This loaf can be made with Spelt flour and no xanthan but you will notice if the loaf is left for a day or more, the loaf will tend to fall apart very easily - crumbly.  So your choice.  I try to use less of it in my baking but even a 1/4 tsp can make a difference.

Orange juice: since this recipe requires at least one fresh orange for the zest, I say just buy 2 oranges and squeeze out all the fresh juice inside.  Most delicious.  Of course, having a good juicer is most helpful in doing this.  I highly recommend the pampered chef one - LOVE MINE!!!

Apple Butter:   Wellesley brand is my preference. Check out my page on "sugars" for more details on this specifics of this but it is my Sweetener of choice.  This can be made with other sugars - I would try maple syrup or palm sugar before heading to the refined brown sugar.

Cranberries: You may want to cut up your cranberries a bit before adding them.  Large berries can create soggy pockets which no one likes.  Plus the loaf is not super sweet and with just a small tart bite, it is more enjoyable.

Wild Orange Oil: I have recently purchased doTERRA oils and have had some fun replacing oils for flavouring in my baking.  If you have an orange oils other than from doTERRA, PLEASE be sure it is safe for internal use as marked on the bottle, or contact me and I will help you get some.

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