Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cranberry-Cornmeal Quick Bread


It's been a while since I've shared one of my recipes with you. The baking/cooking groups are fun, but they've been monopolizing the real estate here, just a little bit. So here is a recipe of my own choosing, a recipe that I love dearly. I've made this bread for our Thanksgiving breakfast for the last two years and every time I taste it, I fall in love again. Meet a loaf of cornbread kissed with maple syrup and studded with toasted pecans and dried cranberries. I think it would look great on your kitchen table on Christmas morning.It would also be perfect for any breakfast from  September to February, as far as I'm concerned.


This is a standard quick bread recipe.... it really does come together in a flash and although the recipe calls for white whole wheat flour, you could use additional all purpose flour here. I had some whole wheat pastry flour (which I love to bake with) and it gives the bread a slightly darker, maybe more toasted flavor, while keeping the crumb velvety and tender. Actually, for me, it's all about the maple. And the corn meal. Oh, and the toasted pecans, too.


Have you ever seen powdered buttermilk in the baking aisle in the supermarket? If so, pick some up. It's the handiest thing I've ever come across. I love the flavor of buttermilk, but unfortunately, I rarely ever use up an entire container before it expires. But with the powder, you keep it in the refrigerator and add it in with the dry ingredients, adding in equal parts of water for the liquid measurement. It works perfectly. Genius, whoever thought of that.


So this recipe may be a little late for your Thanksgiving menus, but this bread is so delicious, I would hate for you to wait for next year to try it. So make it tomorrow.  Be sure to get Grade B maple syrup, if you can, though. The flavor is so much more intense; you'll really taste it here. Also a note about maple extract. It's not the same thing as imitation maple flavor. Get the extract if you can, too. I don't know if it's sold in stores... I've not seen it where I live. But you can order it. Three cheers for the internet!


Cranberry-Cornmeal Quick Bread
from Bon Appetit

Makes 1 loaf

Nonstick vegetable spray
1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. white whole wheat flour, regular wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1 c. medium-grind whole grain cornmeal or regular cornmeal
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/4 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 c. pure maple syrup
2 large eggs
1/2 t. maple extract (Full disclosure: I didn't have any so I used the imitation kind. And it was fine.)
3/4 c. chopped pecans plus 10 whole pecan halves for garnish ( I like to toast any nuts first; they taste         
          better that way)
3/4 c. dried cranberries (about 4 oz.)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350. (If using a dark, nonstick loaf pan, decrease temperature by 25 degrees.) Spray 9x5x3" metal loaf pan with nonstick spray. Whisk both flours, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder in large bowl. Whisk buttermilk, melted butter, maple syrup, eggs and extract in medium bowl. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until blended. Stir in 3/4 c. chopped pecans and cranberries. Spoon batter into pan. Arrange pecan halves in a row down center of batter. Bake bread until top is golden brown and paring knife inserted into center of bread comes out clean, tenting bread loosely with foil if browning too quickly, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 20 minutes. Turn out onto rack; cool.

1 comment:

  1. I love cranberries and quick bread so I think I'll give this one a try as soon as I get time. Thanks for the recipe!