Two sisters feigning sleep in the same bed.
Noelle and I spent almost every Christmas Eve together. After church and a ceremonial march of cookies from kitchen to fireplace, Noelle and I would climb up stairs to painstakingly wait for morning. We’d tear off the price tags from our new Christmas pajamas, and we’d read our chapter books until our lids grew too heavy to keep open. But once we turned off the light, our minds would swell with the possibility of tomorrow. We’d imagine the presents, the family, the long walks and the pies. We’d wonder if this Christmas could possibly be as good as the last, and we’d occasionally vocalize our expectations, sharing like sisters do with so few words.
So when I thought about the recipes I wanted to share this holiday season, I knew I wanted to impart a collection of holiday quick breads.
This week, I’ll be sharing a few of my recently discovered favorites…as well as a few classics.
The first recipe in this collection is a Cranberry Poppyseed Quick Bread. Moist and studded with fresh cranberries and toasted nuts, this quick bread reminds me of the loaves of orange cranberry bread my Aunt Karen would bring into our home each year. For this recipe, I added a hefty dose of cinnamon and more oil to make each slice soft and spicy. This bread tastes better with age,, so feel free to make it a day or two before you plan on serving it. I baked mine in a bundt pan, but a large loaf pan would work equally as well
1 cup dried cranberries
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup poppy seeds
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup toasted and chopped walnuts (optional)
1. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Place the dried cranberries in a bowl and toss them with 2 tablespoons of the flour until lightly coated (this will prevent them from sinking in the cake).
2. Beat your eggs and sugar in a mixer until fluffy. While the mixer runs on low, slowly pour in the vanilla and the oil. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and poppy seeds. Blend into the egg mixture. Stir in the fresh and dried cranberries by hand and the walnuts (if using), distributing them evenly in the batter.
3. Spoon into a 10-inch bundt pan and bake for around 45 to 60 minutes, until springy and dry in the center (alternately, spoon into a large loaf pan.) Let cool for 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack, then turn the bread out. Freeze until ready to use or just wrap and store for up to 2 days.
Anecdotes and Apple Cores