Friday, November 16, 2012

Cranberry Hazelnut Bread

Cranberry Hazelnut Bread
I've waited an entire year to make this recipe. It wasn't by choice either, or because I just never got around to it, or because I think cranberries should only be enjoyed in November. The problem was, cranberries are very difficult to find at any time of year other than this one. Not finding fresh cranberries at the market in August is something I would expect. But even frozen? Maybe it's just me, or where I live, but frozen cranberries are not something grocers stock around here off season (and by off-season, I mean anytime other than the Holidays). So when I finally saw fresh cranberries at the market, I grabbed some. Then I went to the freezer department and - lo and behold, they were there too! I grabbed a couple bags, and now I'm primed to bake with cranberries whenever the impulse strikes.
The thing is, cranberries are great all Winter long. Moreover, this Cranberry Hazelnut Bread is great all Winter long. I sampled this particular version at a family dinner about a year ago, and was surprised by how much I liked it. I couldn't place what it was I liked so much about it, until it occurred to me that it was the hazelnuts!
While pecans, or walnuts seem to be the more popular choice in most cranberry bread recipes, hazelnuts are by far the winner in my book. Even better if you leave them on the coarser side of "coarsely chopped".
Roasted Hazelnuts + Cranberries
I don't bake with hazelnuts much. For one, they're pricey, and two, they're a pain to peel. But with this recipe there's no need to be too particular about getting every inch of skin off. I used the method I usually use, which is to roast them and then rub the skins off with a dish towel. I would estimate that I managed to get about two thirds of the skins off this way.
If you'd like, you can try dampening the dish towel slightly. I've heard that does a good job as well. Or if you're really seeking perfection, you can try this method I found here, from Alice Medrich via an episode of Julia Child's cooking show.
Batter Ingredients
Even with pesky hazelnut skins to deal with, this recipe is simple. It's two bowls, no mixer, and tastes great even days later. Believe it or not, both my kids loved this bread too! I love it warm from the oven with a smear of cream cheese. My boys loved it toasted with butter.
Ready To Bake
Making little loaves to give away as gifts over the holidays would be a great treat, and serving a loaf on your Thanksgiving table couldn't be more perfect. Or, if you're not cooking turkey dinner this year, bringing a loaf as a gift to your host would also be a big hit.
Cranberry Hazelnut Bread
Personally, I'm looking forward to an open-faced Thanksgiving leftover sandwich on a slice.
Some of my favorite Thanksgiving Week recipes - Roasted Cardamom Applesauce | Fall Bruschetta | Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce | Date Nut Spice Bread | Bread Pudding with Bourbon, Pecans & Butterscotch | Apple Pie

Cranberry Hazelnut Bread

{printable recipe}
Yields: 1 loaf
Adapted from Real Simple Magazine, November 2011
If you decide to make this bread at any time of year besides November, you might have a hard time finding fresh cranberries. In that case, you can substitute frozen. My favorite way to eat this bread is smeared with cream cheese, but it's also delicious sliced and toasted with butter!

1 cup hazelnuts
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries

you'll also need:
a standard loaf pan (8 1/2 x 4 1/2)
extra butter, or non-stick cooking spray to grease the pan

Preheat oven to 350˚. Spread the hazelnuts out on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. After roasting, pour them onto a clean dish towel and rub vigorously until most of the skins are removed (some stubborn skins will remain, but that's okay). Coarsely chop the nuts and set aside.

Grease the loaf pan. Add the flour, sugar, light brown sugar, baking powder, and salt to a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, milk, eggs, orange zest, and vanilla. Add the mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the chopped hazelnuts and cranberries.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If the top browns too quickly you can tent the pan with foil. Let the bread cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then transfer the loaf to a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, with butter, cream cheese, or just as is!

To Store: Let the bread cool completely before wrapping. Store at room temperature for a day, or two. For longer storage, you can refrigerate the bread for up to a week, or freeze for up to a month.


Joanne said...

Whole Foods is the only supermarket I've found that carries frozen cranberries year-round! I love the sound of this quickbread. Hazelnuts give such a rich flavor that is definitely complimented by the tart cranberries!

katie said...

Joanne - That's where I expected to find them. But not @ Whole Foods here in CT! Of course, I'm sure they are now that it's Nov.

Courtney J said...

This looks wonderful! I adore cranberries and love finding different ways to use them in baking and cooking. I am definitely going to make this bread soon. Yum :) ps. love the photos!

Sally - My Custard Pie said...

Amazing that I can buy frozen cranberries most of the year in Dubai and fresh ones are in the shops now. Your beautiful description is making me imagine the aroma - I have cranberries in the freezer and hazelnuts in the to the kitchen...

canvas prints said...

yummy, this looks so good. i need to try it.

london bakes said...

Such a lovely combination of flavours - cranberries go so well with nuts and I bet this bread is completely delicious.

Lauren Brown said...

Perfect recipe for the filbert (hazelnut) tree in our front yard. I will definitely try this.
Your pictures are great!

Christian Rene Friborg said...

I also love cranberries! Will try this recipe soon.

Unknown said...

Amazing this recipe. i love cramberries!!!

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