Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cranberry-Orange Nut Bread with a Zesty Tropical Twist

tropical cranberry orange nut bread
Cranberry-orange nut bread is popular this time of year, and I usually make my healthier, lighter version so as to not feel quite as guilty when I indulge in a second slice, or top a toasted slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a smear of butter.

This year, however, I decided to change things up and give my cranberry bread a tropical twist. Having recently learned about virgin coconut oil courtesy of my friend Jenni of Pastry Chef Online, and having read about its health benefits, I decided to replace the butter or shortening (which is getting a bad rap these days) in my recipe with the coconut oil, and also use it to grease the baking pan.

The coconut aroma as the bread baked was heavenly, but much to my surprise the bread did not taste of coconut merely from the fat substitution. So I modified my recipe again to add shredded coconut to the batter in order to bring out that flavor.

2 cups whole wheat flour
29 Oz. Organic Coconut Oil, Extravirgin
Click to buy coconut oil
1 cup sugar
1½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
2 Tbs virgin coconut oil, melted
¾ cup orange juice
1 large egg, beaten
1 Tbs grated orange peel, preferably fresh
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped (a food processor does this quickly)
½ cup chopped macadamia nuts (or pecans or walnuts, or a combo)
1/4 cup crystallized ginger chips*
1/3 cup shredded coconut

*If you are using larger crystallized ginger chunks, you'll want to chop them up into smaller pieces about the size of the chopped nuts or chopped cranberries. You can do this in a food processor, or by hand (takes longer).

tropical cranberry bread
Preheat oven to 350°F degrees and grease a standard bread loaf pan -- I use coconut oil to grease the pan. Mix together the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine the orange juice, egg and orange peel in a small bowl, then pour into the large bowl with the dry ingredients and stir well to combine. Stir in cranberries, nuts, ginger & coconut.

Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 60-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven, place pan on cooling rack and let rest 15 minutes, then carefully remove bread from pan (I tip upside down and gently tap, and the bread slides out). Slice and enjoy.

To store, allow to cool completely to room temperature before wrapping tightly in plastic wrap. If freezing, place the plastic-wrapped loaf in a freezer bag and squeeze out as much air as possible before closing the bag.

Zestfully yours,

PS: If you love the tangy-sweet flavor of cranberries and also enjoy spicy foods, check out the award-winning cranberry hot sauce (fantastic with turkey, and also with cheesecake) and the spicy gourmet cranberry salsa we currently have on sale at the Carolina Sauces online store.

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