Cranberry Walnut Bread

1 loaf
1 hr
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This Cranberry Walnut Bread is bursting with tart cranberries, fresh orange and crunchy walnuts for a delicious quick bread that's perfect for Christmas morning or a homemade gift!
I think cranberries often get a bad rap during the holidays. They are so often associated with the canned jellied cranberries that sometimes get set out just for traditions sake, but barely get eaten. Let me tell you, there is so much more to cranberries than their wiggly-jiggly canned variety! Beginning in the fall, you start to see fresh cranberries in the produce section of grocery stores. They can seem intimidating if you are unsure how to use them for anything besides making a homemade garland with them. On their own they are quite tart and crunchy, but there are many wonderful things you can create with fresh cranberries, including this Cranberry Walnut Bread!

Main Flavors in Cranberry Walnut Bread

Fresh Cranberries - when baked in the bread, the cranberries soften and create little bursts of tart flavor throughout the bread. Plus, they look perfectly festive for the holidays!

Orange - cranberry and orange are a flavor combination made in heaven. It's a very popular combo and for good reason! To really infuse the bread with orange flavor, both the juice & zest are used. This great flavor combo is also used in my Orange Cranberry Cookies.

Chopped walnuts - add a nice texture and crunch to the otherwise soft & moist bread. Cranberry and walnuts are another combo that's often seen together in baked goods and appetizers.

Most of the other ingredients in this Cranberry Walnut Bread are typical for a quick bread recipe. The term quick bread refers to a bread recipe that uses a leavening agent such as baking powder or soda (in this case we are using both) to allow the batter to be baked right away and still rise nicely. Quick breads also have a muffin like texture compared to traditional breads that are made with yeast and require rise time.

Can It Be Frozen?

This Cranberry Walnut Bread freezes nicely, making it a great make-ahead recipe for the busy holiday season. I love having baked goods like this stashed in the freezer that can be pulled out to use for entertaining or a quick breakfast.

After the bread is completely cooled, wrap the loaf in plastic wrap and then in Alumimum foil or place it a freezer bag. Quick bread will keep in the freezer for about 3 months. When ready to eat, thaw the bread at room temperature. If you are in a little more of a hurry, wrap the frozen bread in a new layer of foil and reheat in the oven at 300 degrees for 20-30 minutes until just warmed through. Great for those unexpected holiday guests!

Gifting Baked Goods

I think there's something so special about sharing homemade baked goods with others, especially during the holidays. Whether it be a decorative tin filled with a variety of cookies or a loaf of this Cranberry Walnut Bread, there's something about creating something homemade for others that's so satisfying (and delicious!).

To "gift wrap" this homemade gift, I like to wrap the loaf in a fresh piece of plastic wrap. Then simply tie a festive ribbon around or place a bow on top and it's ready for it's recipient. Give on it's own or pair it with a gift card to your favorite coffee place and you have a great, thoughtful gift for someone you care about!

Other popular holiday baking recipes:

Pistachio Bread

Molasses Cookies

Graham Cracker Fluff

Butterscotch Creme Brulee

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Recipe details
  • 1  loaf
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 50 Minutes Total time: 1 hr
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  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup walnuts chopped
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • juice from 1 orange about 2 tablespoons
  • zest from 1 orange about 1 tablespoon
  • boiling water approx. 3/4 cup
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 egg slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan or 2 small loaf pans.
In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda. Add cranberries and walnuts.
In a measuring cup, add the juice of one orange. Add enough boiling water to the cup to equal ¾ cup. Whisk in orange zest, oil and egg.
Add liquid to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour into loaf pan and bake 50-55 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before removing from pan.
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  • Dor49405199 Dor49405199 on Jan 18, 2022

    Can cranberry. Be dried instead of fresh

    • The Darling Apron The Darling Apron on Jan 22, 2022

      The result won’t quite be the same with dried cranberries. There’s just something about the pop of moisture & flavor that comes from fresh!