For the food gifts I’m making this year I’m drawn to nostalgic recipes and wanted to use my mini loaf pan, so quick breads came to mind. I was reminded of this cranberry nut bread my grandmother used to make, and was able to find the original recipe card. Several things about the card stood out: my grandmother’s perfect penmanship, the many stains and other signs of use, and the terminology she used. The card is dated 11/11/66, and no one was calling the outer skin of the orange ‘zest’ then. To my grandmother, ‘nuts’ meant walnuts - anything more exotic would have been spelled out. Shortening probably meant Crisco, but I took the liberty of substituting butter.
The ingredients are listed in my grandmother’s original terms with my interpretation in parentheses. I also updated some of her methods, using the quick whisk technique to combine dry ingredients and melting butter in the microwave.
Nana Tucker’s Cranberry Nut Bread
2 Cups flour
1 ½ Teaspoons baking powder
½ Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon salt
½ Teaspoon orange peel (zest of one orange)
1 Cup sugar
2 Tablespoons shortening (melted butter)
¼ Cup orange juice (juice of 1 orange)
1 egg, beaten
1 Cup cranberries
½ Cup chopped nuts (walnuts)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, orange zest and sugar to combine, lighten and remove lumps. In a large measuring cup melt butter in microwave, add orange juice and fill cup with hot water to the ¾ Cup mark. Add liquids to dry ingredients with beaten egg and mix just until combined. Add cranberries and nuts and stir to incorporate.
If using a mini loaf pan, line each section with a strip of parchment paper to make removal easier.
Bake in a loaf pan 40 -50 minutes or in an 8 section mini loaf pan 25 minutes.