Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mary Curry's Cranberry Bread

Many years ago (so many that no one remembers when), my daughters and I began a Thanksgiving tradition that still holds today.

Somehow (we don't remember this part either - Oops!) we came into the possession of a well worn copy of a delightful book called Cranberry Thanksgiving. (There's also a Cranberry Christmas and Cranberry Valentine's Day.)

This is the description on Barnes & Noble
Maggie and her grandmother each invite a guest to their Thanksgiving feast, featuring Grandmother's own cranberry bread, made from a secret recipe...Grandmother almost loses her secret recipe for cranberry bread to one of the guests she and Maggie invite for Thanksgiving dinner. Includes the secret recipe. 

That bold part - that's the key to the tradition. 

When the girls were little, reading the story and then baking the bread together was a favorite part of our Thanksgiving preparations. Today my daughters are 22 and 24 and guess what - yup, we still bake the bread. (Although I have to admit we stopped reading the story long about the time they hit middle school.)

The bread is definitely easy-peasy (TM Ruthy) to make and sooooo moist and delicious.
I could just share the secret recipe (that's prominently displayed on the back cover *g*) but where's the fun in that? Instead I'll give you the photo version.

I love the description of the recipe. It says Grandmother's Famous Cranberry Bread and then in parentheses (Get Mother to help).

The ingredients:
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup butter or margarine (I've only ever used the butter)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon grated orange peel (okay, I always leave this out)
3/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cups light raisins (dark work also)
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped (nah, too much trouble. I toss them in whole).

Sift flour, sugar. baking powder, salt and baking soda into a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.

Add egg, orange peel, and orange juice all at once; stir just until mixture is evenly moist. Fold in raisins and cranberries.

This is before mixing and adding fruity goodness...

And this pic is after. This is because Ruthy can't remember where exactly Mary had these lovely photos placed so I'm stickin 'em in, here and there.  ;)

Spoon into a greased 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour and ten minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack. 

The recipe says you may substitute all cranberries for the raisins but I don't recommend it. The raisins are a nice sweet balance to the tartness of the cranberries.

ENJOY!  (It tastes great with whipped cream cheese - maybe with afternoon tea.)

I love to hear about traditions that families have established over the years. Please share yours!

And one final shot for cuteness sake.

This is Fenway "helping". His new favorite toy is the cranberry he's been chasing around the house.


  1. What a fun, great recipe, Mary! Thanks so much for sharing it!

    Since you said Fenway chased a cranberry around the house (too cute!!), I'm assuming you use fresh berries?

  2. aww I want Fenway! love big doggies! hmm this sounds tempting - still not sure about cutting butter and all that - seems like that's not actually slicing off pieces it's using this masher thingy and some serious arm strength right? not much liquid stuff in there to make it easy..guess using my handmixer would make a gigantic mess huh? sigh..ya'll need some videos here!

  3. wow youtube is awesome! typed 'cutting butter' and up popped a how-to video and yep it's that thingy I remembered but don't have! they made it look pretty easy..good for stress relief LOL!


  4. You Tube is great for learning how to do stuff! :)

    It doesn't take much muscle to cut butter. You don't need to do any working out to prepare, Susanna. :) In fact, it's pretty quick. You can do this!!

  5. Susanna, I don't know what YouTube showed, but I just use a knife and cut pieces into the bowl. It all melts together when you cook anyway . :)

    Since it's only half a stick of butter, it doesn't take long at all.

  6. Missy, yes, I use fresh. I also like it very cranberryish so I usually just dump the whole bag in. Well except for the ones Fenway gets to play with.

    Oh and here's my little plug. Fenway's a rescue pup and just the sweetest baby.

  7. I cannot wait to make this for Thanksgiving! Emma is coming out to bake with "Grammy" because she loves to help in the kitchen, so we'll have a new bonding experience, Mary! And I love that you leave them whole... And that I get a trademark... Which is as it SHOULD be, after all!

    And Missy thank you for rescuing the dog with a reeally BAD NAME....



    This Yank is not bragging, though, because even though we took the AL EAST.....

    We bombed in the playoffs.

    Tucking my Yankee tail and counting the days 'til spring training and hope renewed! :)

  8. Susanna, I always used two knives, cross-cutting (think like an "X" shape) to cut butter or margarine or Crisco into something....

    Although like Mary, I never use margarine. I have every stick of butter consumed stuck to my thighs and I LOVE PAULA DEEN....

    But I eat almonds to help dislodge the cellulite. Or something like that. So you just take the knives and criss cross them...

    Or do like Mary says and cut it into small pieces.

    Make cooking easy. It's way more fun that way!

  9. Oh, I have a rescue dog as well! But he's rotten. Spoiled rotten, I mean. :)

  10. Yeah, Fenway's pretty spoiled (totally OUR fault) but he's a love.

    I usually do my morning writing curled up in bed with my coffee (That's when hubby has the downstairs computer commandeered.) Fenny always snuggles up against me while I write. Between the flowing words and the cuddly dog, it's really hard to force myself to go get ready for work.

    Funny bit - when I typed the password on my earlier comment about Fenny being a rescue, auto-correct tried to change the password to Godsend. aaaaw, he's definitely been that to us!

  11. No comment on the end of the baseball season, Ruthy. *sigh* My husband reverts to childhood. My neighbor gave him such grief when the Sox collapsed.

    Hmmm, nary a word when the Yanks did the same.

    As a lifelong Mets fan, I'm just used to losing.

    On a happier note, Hubs and I are off to B&N in a bit and according to their website, they have Yuletide Hearts in stock. :)

    Since I just finished Mary Connealy's Christmas ebook, I'm definitely in the mood for Christmas storied. I was trying to hold out til after Thanksgiving, but if B&N has it in stock, that's a sign, I tell you.

  12. Ohh - not to be a post hog, but I just remembered -

    I have a regular Saturday post over at Today's recipe is a really delicious soup I made up on my own. Pumpkin Apple Lentil.

    I've never been much of one for cooking. Baking - oh yeah, but cooking - meh. But I've learned to love making soups and this was an experiment that turned out incredibly well. It was so easy and so tasty and 100% great for you. If you want to check it out -

  13. oh well knives aren't as exciting as that cool gadget they were using on youtube but that was a lotta butter she was working in! this is gonna take a lot of shopping - don't think I have a single ingredient unless sugar's hiding in the fridge(found some flour there too but it was sorta wayyy past the 'best by date')

  14. oops I take that back - I have salt and an egg! :-)

  15. Great recipe! I'll have to add this to my holiday baking list. Thanks :)

  16. I wonder if you could use CRAISINS on this? What do you think? Sounds deeelightful, Mary.

  17. I love that book, Mary! The Cranberry series was one we read over and over...until we moved. The new library didn't have it :( It's another one to put on my e-bay "look for" list.

    Susanna, we just may make a baker out of you yet! You-tube is great for learning how to do stuff, and you get wonderful recipes here - you can't lose.

    And we have humane society pups at our house - a Border-line Collie (mostly BC, probably a little something else thrown in) named Connor. He's our old man at almost 12 years old. We're nursing him through arthritis (hip dysplasia is really awful for dogs - never, ever breed one that might carry it!) and incontinence (who ever thought I'd be changing a dog's diaper?), but we know we'll be saying goodbye to him soon.

    The other one is a husky mix named Winter - blond with almond eyes (yes, she's a beautiful plush toy) - but such a wolf! Not sure if she's really pure dog... But a sweetie with the family. You have to pass her "pack test" before she'll let you pet her.

    We have a, she thinks she's a dog. We'll leave it at that. Her name is Maggie-cat, and she's a hoot.

    And I'm one of the happiest baseball fans ever. My secret? Just be a Cubs fan - expect losses and you're never disappointed!

  18. Mary, I think craisins would work, wouldn't they? We'll have to try that. Tina, you wanna try it and let us know? Or you want me to do it?

    And not for nothin', Mary Curry, I like a little orange peel for texture in cranberry orange stuff...

    But that's just me. My children would act poisoned, no doubt.

  19. Tina, I bet craisins would be great. I'll have to try that. Thanks for the suggestion. :) Sometimes I like to throw nuts in too.

    Ruthy, I have nothing against the orange peel; it's just a step I leave out if I don't happen to have an orange around.

    Hi Renee,
    Thanks for stopping by. I hope you get a chance to try it.

  20. Jan,
    Have you seen the prices of these books?!!!
    Amazon has it selling for $197.26
    I'm sure it must be cheaper somewhere.

    So sorry to hear of the problems with Connor. :(

    We have a cat dog too. Name is Bart.

  21. Mary, This is a delightful post. Combines such a lovely mix: holiday tradition, a well-loved book, a great recipe, and even a dog. Love it! I'll definitely make this Cranberry Bread this week. Thank you.

  22. $197.26!!!!????!!!!

    I'm patient when looking for books to add to my library...I haunt antique stores, garage sales, Friends of the Library keeps me out of trouble.

    I just used Valerie's pie crust recipe - three shells waiting for pumpkin pies for Thursday, four turnover crusts in the freezer (I'm thinking Cornish Pasties), and pie crust cookies with the leftovers. Delicious!

  23. LOL, Jan and Mary! We used to have a cat named Sheba who thought she was a dog. She used to follow my oldest to the bust stop each day like a dog would. We called her Sheba-dog! :)

  24. Renee and Sue-Ellen, we're so glad you stopped by!

  25. Hi Ladies.
    Mary and I sort of sat together during the Genesis Announcements at ACFW. Well, we were both at home watching LIVE CHAT/ video And tweeting so I'm glad to find out a little bit more about her. This does sound yummy! I have one of those mini food processors that would be great for chopping the cranberries...hmmmm, maybe I'll try that.

    Yum Oh, another fine day at the YankeeBelle Cafe!

  26. Hi Debra! My Genesis partner. :)

    Isn't it odd that when you see someone around the same blogs for so long you feel like you really know them much better than you actually do?

    Just me?

    Anyway, ;) I'm sure the mini food processor would work fine. I used mine to grind almonds for another recipe so cranberries should be a breeze.

    Sue-Ellen - hello! and thanks for stopping by. Always a dog! Funny thing is, I never had any pet other than fish up until 3 years ago when we got Fenway and then Bart (a month later). Now I can't imagine coming home to a house without them.

  27. Mary, it's so funny. Once you have one dog, you might just as well have two.

    Sue Ellen and Renee, waving to you guys...

    I love people who enjoy cooking or else the ones who figure out easier ways to do it because they can't just eat out all the time.

    Either way, the Cafe is ALWAYS OPEN....

    Mmm... pumpkin spice latte!

  28. This sounds wonderful and I'm looking forward to trying it.

    Just wanted to say Sue-Ellen Welfonder & Tartan Ink sent me your way.

  29. Karen, we're so glad you dropped by! Sue-Ellen, thanks for letting others know about us. :)

  30. ok got the ingredients - not as hard as I thought - once I found the baking aisle (across from the pickles of all things!) I saw a sign on the next aisle over for the raisins - thank goodness 'cause I have no idea where those are in the stores- my usualy store I think puts them with the canned fruit...I think...oh well I never buy them! I got golden because nothing said'light' on the box. now to psyche myself up into trying t his but stupid me forgot about a to dig through the cabinets and see if I can find the meatloaf pan and hope its' the right size...

  31. Susanna, don't worry too much about the pan. I've varied it. The last loaf I made I actually made in a skillet because I wanted it flatter. Just pay attention to it so it doesn't burn.
    Good luck!

  32. 'kay..I keep opening the oven to sniff so I guess it'll never cook! maybe I should dig around and see if I have a sugar cookie candle or something...found the pan - gosh didn't know the suckers would rust - though it was aluminum guess not! may have a little extra iron though I scrubbed what I could. :-( for some reason thought you said it was good with coolwhip and optimistically bought some but no cream cheese..oh well...first gotta get it done without burning! or being burned on the ends and raw in the middle - old oven here!
    I thought for a minute my lab would chase the runaway cranberries but other than a lick and making a face she was uninterested. Iguess she remembers playing with the persimmons as a puppy - guess she thought they were balls and she'd carry it then drop it and make a face then try again.


  33. have you tried selfrising flour and leaving out the other stuff like baking powder and salt and soda? Iguess I'm set for more baking - at least one more loaf like this - I got the small bag of flour and the package I thought was 4 sticks of butter was one gigantic mass of butter. took some finagling but I finally whacked off what looked like half a stick to me...taking way too long to cook!

  34. ok it came out - caught it just in time - the bottom was getting a wee bit cooked! I think I'll trim the salt a tad next time but could've been because I barely let it cook 5 min LOL! I'm happy to say it didn't stick though I did have a fearful moment when I forgot about the cranberries and stuck the toothpick in and it came out red like blood! eeks!
    guess I'm ready to tackle some more baking but not sure I'm up for the yeast challenge yet...


  35. Susanna!!!! We made a baker out of you!

    Congratulations. did it taste?

    You made me laugh out loud at the bloody bread from the cranberry.

  36. LOL! Me too, Mary. I had to laugh. Reminded me of the turkey a few years ago where I nearly wretched when I cut into it!! LOL

  37. well I'm eating it LOL! I like it - the cranberries are super tart - I don't taste the raisins but I'm assuming they're keeping the cranberries bearable! ;-) of course I have a container of cool whip which I think goes with almost everything! not much on this though - just a bit. I like it. mine's on the border of crumbly but not faling apart bad like some breads I've had. Mainly getting my mind and taste buds to the fact that it's BREAD and not cake - once I adjusted to that I was fine(and once I let it cool off!) I like it - told my dad about it and he was of course ambivalent-they have him cranberry juice for breakfast at the rehab place and he hated it but perked up when I said it had raisins and sugar! I think it'd be great with hot tea except I never got around to fixing any - will take it to work tomorrow since I usually drink a few cups of hot tea there to help wake up enough to get through the 12 hours or at least til lunch! in my area banana bread has become 'cake' which is why I guess I expected sweeter I think (though I knew that was low sugar for something this size) but the first time I had banana bread that wasn't sweet like cake it threw me for a loop! I think I actually prefer this not being too sweet - I like the tartness and it's flagged in my email recipe folder!
    Missy what happend to the turkey? was it like my first (and only) attempt to fry chicken?! I was at college and homesick and thought I'd get those split chicken breasts(back when they had bones in them instead of the boneless skinless godsends they have now)my mom had always said it took 45 min to an hour to fry chicken - I had that sucker salt peppered and floured dipped and shaken off and in the melted Crisso(the white solid goooooddd stuff!) and it browned so nice..only took about 10-15 min! was great until I tookthe 2nd bite and went deeper...just got sick and couldn't finish it after that - bloody inside and sooo raw. of course my mom was fussing telling me she'd told me how long it took and hadn't I watched her all those years - of course I couldn't say 'but I thought you were just stalling around taking your time' LOL! sheesh. I don't think I've EVER attempted to fry c hicken after that unless it was boneless or cooked ot death in a crockpot. I practically burn every meat I cook in fear I'll bit into something raw again.
    ok bring on the yeast...

  38. Yes, Susanna. It just didn't cook quickly enough. The thermometer said it was okay, but it must've hit bone or something. Everyone was at the table, I had all the food out. And I went to cut the turkey, and blood ran out. I was horrified. It was the first Thanksgiving I'd done at my house by myself. Since everyone was ready to eat, I ended up microwaving slices!

    I'm with you. Now I prefer to just cook something to death. LOL

  39. Thanks to Mary Curry for posting the link to this recipe! I've made one that's very similar, but no raisins, so I'll try this, too. And love the book tradition. I'm happy to have discovered your blog. Maybe the best part is the photo with your wonderful lab :-) Happy Thanksgiving!