Saturday, November 17, 2012


One of my husband's favorite holiday books as a child was Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Henry Devlin.  He's been searching for it online since our son was born because it has been out of print for over 15 years.  We could buy it, but it was being sold for over $100.00 as a collector's item on Ebay.  YIKES!  That's a lot of money for a children's book.  He has renewed his search time and again until this year when we found it!  The Purple House Press is a company that reprints popular classic children's books.  Hooray!  They have all kinds of fun titles, but Cranberry Thanksgiving is their most recent release.  Click HERE to get your own copy!

What a fun book!

The story revolves around four characters: Grandma, Maggie, Mr. Horace, and Uriah Peabody aka Mr. Whiskers and a sinister plot to steal Grandma's Famous Cranberry Bread recipe.

My son was so excited to see the recipe on the back.  He wanted to make it right away.  That was not possible because I didn't have the ingredients on hand.  I headed to the store and gathered everything to make my own batch of Grandma's Famous Cranberry Bread!

Let's go!


I made this recipe years ago when my husband and I were first married.  It was a colossal flop!  What I ended up with was a dense brick more suitable for building than eating.  YUCK!

I have learned a lot about baking since then.  I'll show you some of my tricks!

First, you need to prep the pans beforehand with cooking spray and parchment paper.  The parchment paper is a MUST!  This batter is sticky and it will cling to the pan like glue.

Spray the pan with cooking spray. 

Line the pan(s) with parchment paper.  The cooking spray will glue it to the sides of the pan. 

Next,  Baked goods will become dense if too much flour is put into your batter.  The recipe calls for sifted flour.  You don't really need to sift your flour.  You definitely don't need to look for pre-sifted flour at the grocery store. I NEVER use a measuring cup to measure flour.  I only weigh it.  That is the most accurate method for measuring flour.  A cup of flour weighs 5 ounces.  For this recipe we need 2 cups of flour so - 10 ounces.  Use a food scale.  Mine was about $20.00 and I have been using it for years.  My son loves to weigh various things on it.  You can also get an ultra fancy one HERE.  I would suggest a simpler one more like THIS

Keep your butter COLD before you cut it into the dry ingredients.  This will keep the consistency correct.  My daughter had a great time helping me with this.

COLD butter and a pastry cutter

Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is evenly incorporated. 

Little helping hands! 

I added the orange zest next and whisked it into the dry ingredients.  I did this even though the recipe says to add it with the wet ingredients.  This was another place in the recipe that I recieved help.

She was having F-U-N!

I got 1 teaspoon of zest from one medium-sized orange. 
I was tempted to use mandarin oranges, but I decided to follow the recipe and not deviate from it - yet!  Now that I know that it is possible to make a yummy treat and not just a door stop, I might do a little experimenting!  *Just don't tell my husband.  I have ruined many a great recipe with my experimentation.*  :)

For the first loaf I used whole cranberries.  I added them with the wet ingredients and folded everything together at the same time.  I love how bold the red of the cranberries are!  PRETTY!
I popped a cranberry into my mouth just to try it out.  Yikes!  That was TART!  

The recipe calls for the wet ingredients to be added before the cranberries and raisins. 

The recipe called for "Chopped" cranberries.
 I could not wrap my mind around chopping cranberries with a knife, using a potato masher wouldn't work, and I didn't want to drag out my food processor.  Instead, I put the cranberries in a bag and crushed them with a measuring cup.  (It was available since I didn't use it to measure the flour!)  Cranberries are not tender.  I put some muscle into crushing them - hence the baking mitt to protect my hand.  I guess I should get a meat tenderizer.  :)

Crushed Cranberries - MMMMMM!
Finished batter with whole berries.
 You may have noticed that the recipe calls for raisins.  You also may have noticed that I have not added any - anywhere.  I really HATE raisins.  This saying pretty much sums it up:

Found on Pinterest
I also didn't add double cranberries.  I just didn't think that the bread needed to be stuffed with berries.  That is just my opinion though. 

Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 70 minutes.  I rotated the pans halfway through baking to even the browning.

350 degrees for 70 minutes rotate after 35

Here is a little side note to entertain you whole your loaves of cranberry bread are baking....The fresh cranberries you buy in the store are harvested first using a rake.  The cranberries that are harvested after the bogs are flooded are used for juice and cranberry preserves.  


Two loaves!

Let the loaves cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the pans to continue cooling.  

Run a butter knife around the ends of the loaf or THIS will happen. 

The parchment paper will help the loaves to lift out easily.  However, the ends will stick even after the cooking spray.  You must run a butter knife around the ends to loosen them because they will stick to the pan. 

I used a butter knife on the loaf on the left and not on the loaf on the right.  Notice the stickage!
Once the loves are cool you can enjoy your creation!  Delicious!

What's not to love?

The crust of this bread is thick and crispy - not at all like the moist crust of banana bread.  (It will soften up after you seal it in an airtight container to keep it fresh.)  It is sweet and delicious.  Orange is the perfect counterpoint to the tartness of the cranberries.  This is definitely a recipe that would become famous.  Try it for your Thanksgiving feast!

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Thanks for visiting and enjoy your CRANBERRY BREAD!


Cubby said...

Love all the cooking secrets that are learned over time and experience its always nice to have success. Could you possibly cut another piece of parchment long enough to run over the ends that are not covered

Heather said...

I loved that book too! I love your new header. :-)

Heather said...

I remember that book, it has awesome illustrations! I really like your new header.