Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Holiday Cranberry Nut Bread

Holiday Cranberry Nut Bread
Dorcas Annette Walker

I’ll never forget my tenth birthday for two reasons. First it fell right on Thanksgiving Day, which didn’t seem to make it much like a birthday as it was overshadowed by a major holiday. Second instead of a small turkey that year my parents could only afford a duck. Even though our family was poor my parents invited a guest to share Thanksgiving dinner with us. I had the “honor” of sitting beside this scruffy fellow with unkempt long dark hair and scraggly beard that I had never seen before in my life, nor knew where my parents had come across this guy. Today I cannot remember man’s name, but one thing that stands out in my mind is the fact that while this fellow slurped, growled, and plowed his way through the food like a starved person, I barely touched mine. Since visitors were rare in our home and I was quite shy it was like sitting beside a big wild bear. To my ten year old mind, my birthday was a total disaster.

Little did I realize it then, but my parents were instilling valuable principles into my life. At that time going shopping with my father or mother was sooo embarrassing as neither one met a stranger in their life. My parents were always smiling and willing to talk to anyone. Years later my teenage daughter would say to me, “Really, Mom, do you have to talk to everyone? It is so embarrassing!” And no matter how poor we were when Thanksgiving and Christmas came around there was always someone worse off than us that we could help. The holidays are a perfect time to reach out to others. It never ceases to amaze me how a smile, a kind word, or a simple act of kindness can help make someone else’s day and at the same time lift your own spirits.

My Holiday Cranberry Nut Bread is an old Mennonite recipe that has become a favorite in our family. The sweet colorful moist bread with a subtle orange flavor filled with cranberries and nuts always signals that the holidays have begun. Instead of making a loaf you can also turn this recipe into cupcakes or muffins. For added richness slather a slice of Holiday Cranberry Nut Bread with softened cream cheese. Preparation time for my Holiday Cranberry Nut Bread is about an hour and this recipe serves twelve large slices.

Holiday Cranberry Nut Bread

2 c self-rising flour
1 c sugar
1 c chopped cranberries
1 c chopped pecans or walnuts
1 egg
1 c orange juice
¼ c cooking oil

In a medium-sized bowl combine the flour, sugar, cranberries and walnuts. Add the egg, orange juice, and oil mixing thoroughly. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350º for 45-50 minutes until browned and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for five minutes before slicing!

Weekly tip: For a festive touch with your butter or cream cheese: flatten chilled butter or cream cheese with a rolling pin in between wax paper, cut with a lightly greased large cookie cutter, and drizzle with a bit of maple syrup or honey before serving!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at:

No comments: