Friday, November 18, 2005

Cranberry Buttermilk Loaf

I love a versatile recipe. It's fun to mix up fruits and flavors without having to sweat the details of flour, leavening, etc. This recipe makes a great tasting loaf no matter how I mix it up. Since the fat - butter in this case, though you can use vegetable oil of you prefer - is melted, no creaming is necessary and it only takes about 5 minutes to put together the batter. A very quick quick bread, no?
The loaf is a great choice for breakfast or paired with a cup of tea.I like the richness that using buttermilk adds to the bread The bread is a bit sturdy and holds up well to toasting. It's not overly sweet, but provides a great backdrop for the bright, tart cranberries. The spices are mild, to enhance the flavor of the berries and the buttermilk without overwhelming the loaf. Don't be intimidated by the length of the ingredient list, since they're mostly spices. Keeping it wrapped, the bread stayed moist for a few days.

Cranberry Buttermilk Loaf
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup fresh cranberries, very coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease an 8x4 inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
In a large bowl, thoroughly whisk together sugars, buttermilk, melted butter, vanilla extract and the egg. Add the flour in gradually, adding the cranberries with the last addition. The batter will be thick.
Spoon batter into prepared pan and smooth it with a spatula or knife.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.
Makes 1 loaf.