Make it Naked

Cranberry Orange Bread

Today at the grocery store, a man stepped out of my way, bowed his head and slowly waved an open arm as I passed him, as if I were royalty. I said “thank you” at a loss for any other appropriate words for the awkward situation, and he responded with “Happy Thanksgiving Princess.” I stopped. What? Maybe, he really did think I was royalty! I’m sure princesses wear running pants and sweaty t-shirts to the market. I turned said “thank you” again and practically skipped away with a smile. Not because this man thinks I’m the heiress to some imaginary throne but because the HOLIDAYS ARE HERE! Did you hear him? He said “Happy Thanksgiving!”

I have been preparing for baking season the holidays for weeks now. Every time I’m in the grocery store, I purchase something I could possibly need for baking over the next two months. I’ve picked up at least 4 lbs of butter, 3 bags of flour, 8 cans of pumpkin, you know, like normal people do. But now it’s show time. It’s time to take the 2 lbs of cranberries and 5 lbs of oranges, and make Thanksgiving in a 5×9 bread pan.

This recipe is adapted from a recipe I found on years ago. The cranberries are bright and tart. They’re little bursts of the holiday season in each bite. The orange flavor is spread throughout and adds a welcomed sweetness in contrast to the tart berries. It’s delicious, some might even say, fit for a king…or a princess.

You can bake this as a dessert, for breakfast, or even a gift.  Thanksgiving is two weeks away, which means you have plenty of time to make this bread, accidentally eat it all, and make it again. After all, your crisper drawer is full of cranberries, isn’t it?


3-4 oranges
1 cup fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted


  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Grease a 5×9 bread pan and set aside.
  2. Zest 2 of the oranges using a microplane or the smallest grate on a boxed grater. Another option is to use a vegetable peeler and finely chop the peels. Set aside.
  3. In a liquid measuring cup, juice the oranges to yield 1/2 cup of juice.
  4. In a small sauce pan, combine the cranberries, the 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 1/4 cup (half) of the juice from the oranges. Stir to coat the cranberries and let sit on medium heat for a few minutes. You will hear the cranberries start to “pop”. Stir occasionally. When most of the berries have popped (you can see their skin looks cracked), remove from heat and let cool. Using a slotted spoon remove the berries, setting aside for later, and reserving the juice in the sauce pan.
  5. In a large bowl, beat together (either by hand or with an electric mixer) the egg, the remaining cooled juice from the cranberry mixture, the remaining 1/4 cup of juice from the oranges, the zest and the melted butter.
  6. Mix in the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  7. Fold in the walnuts. Next, fold in the cranberries, only mixing until combined.
  8. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about an hour (mine took 65 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.


  1. It is important that the cranberry mixture juice is cooled before adding to the egg mixture so you don’t end up with a citrus flavored scrambled egg.
  2. Toast the walnuts for about 10 minutes on a cookie sheet in the oven while it’s preheating. Be sure to keep an eye on them and pull them out as soon as you can smell them. They’ll go from 0 to burnt in less than a minute.
  3. This bread freezes well, so go ahead, double the recipe.
  4. Can you use dried cranberries? Sure, but we both know it won’t be as good…and skip step 4 if you do. I’m sure dried cranberries wouldn’t be terrible but I share similar views on fresh cranberries as Deb over at

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Posted on November 10, 2010

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