Quick breads rely on baking powder and/or baking soda (rather than yeast or the air trapped in beaten eggs) for their rising power. Here’s a classic holiday quick bread flavored with orange and tart fresh or frozen cranberries, optionally studded with chopped pecans. You begin by making a quick bread batter: mixing flour, sugar, orange zest, baking powder and baking soda, then blending in fresh orange juice, melted butter, an egg, and vanilla extract. Stir in the cranberries and nuts, if you like, then bake in a loaf pan in a medium oven.
- Yield: 1 (9-inch) loaf
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 35 mins, plus 50 mins baking time and 1 hr cooling time
- Active: 20 mins
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Finely grated zest of 1 medium orange
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 2 medium oranges)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick), melted and cooled slightly, plus more for coating the pan
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups cranberries, thawed if frozen and sliced in half
- 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
- Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with butter; set aside.
- Place the flour, sugar, orange zest, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps. Add the orange juice, melted butter, egg, and vanilla and stir with a spoon or rubber spatula until just combined. Stir in the cranberries and nuts, if using, until evenly distributed.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan, pushing it into the corners and smoothing the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then turn the bread out onto the rack and cool completely.