Last week, a co-worker handed me a recipe for “Cranberry Almond Bread.” She told me it was ”that amazing bread so-and-so’s mom brought into the school last week.” There almost always seems to be some amazing treat in our school kitchen (which has led many of us to both love and fear going in there) but I must have missed out on the bread because I don’t remember it at all. On the other hand, the last week of school was a whirlwind. I packed as much as I could into those last days of school so I’m not too surprised that I missed out on the usual kitchen treats!
A quick glance at the recipe told me it was something I could work with, so I brought it home with me to test out. I took it out tonight, and after my usual fiddling started to create the bread only to discover that I don’t own any almond extract. So I threw caution to the wind and let the contents of my fridge be my guide, and as I write this I am now eating a very delectable bread that would probably be unrecognizable to the person who wrote the original recipe, but is excellent and worth sharing anyway. (It is a rare thing to get a recipe right the first time you
make rewrite it, so I am savouring this moment!)
Orange Cranberry Bread
- 2 cups flour (I used 1 cup spelt and 1 cup whole wheat)
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 heaping Tbsp. orange marmalade
- orange zest (optional – I didn’t have any to add, but I think it will give the bread a nice orangey zing.)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/2 tsp sugar (I used maple sugar)
- 2 Tbsp sliced almonds
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine egg, honey, orange juice, applesauce, butter, marmalade, and orange zest.
Add the wet to the dry and stir until just moistened.
Fold in the cranberries.
Spread in a greased loaf pan. (I always put a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of my loaf pans – it makes it very easy to get the loaf out of the pan.)
Sprinkle the almonds and sugar on top.
Bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for an additional 20 – 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. (You can see from the photo that I left mine in just a tad too long…) Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack.
Recipe: Honey Drop Cakes Source: New Royal Cook Book Date: 1922
I decided to take a break from the 1940s and explore some of the other cookbooks my great-grandmother left behind.
She has many books that were put out by baking powder companies but I chose this one because it looked like one of the oldest.
Printed in 1922.
In a section entitled “Cookies and Small Cakes” a recipe for “Honey Drop Cakes” caught my eye as I am always looking for recipes that substitute honey for more refined sweeteners.
Here is the original recipe.
I am not sure what “greased individual tins” would look like. Did they have a special “small cake” pan in the 1920s? Or, if I greased my muffin tin, would I get little round cakes? Motivated by simplicity (with all of the positivity I try to muster around washing dishes, I haven’t been able to convince myself that I like washing muffin tins!) I decided to go with the drop method instead.
The end result was definitely more cookie than cake, (maybe a cake-like cookie?) but oh so good! They kept well in a cookie tin for as long as they lasted (which wasn’t long since hubby loved them too.)
I then made a second version, taking out the sugar and adding some yummy add-ins. They came out looking completely different, but got rave reviews.
Here are my two variations.
Honey Drop Cakes (original)
Cream 1/3 cup softened butter, add 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup honey, a beaten egg yolk (save the white for later!) and 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice. Mix well.
Add in 1 1/2 cups whole white flour and 1 1/2 tsp baking powder.
In a small bowl, beat egg white. (The recipe didn’t state how much to beat the white, so I stopped when it was white and foamy.)
Fold the egg white into the batter.
Drop far apart on greased baking sheet. I found I could fit 8 on mine with enough room for spreading.
Bake at 400 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes. (The original recipe says to cook in a hot oven for 10 – 15 minutes. My first batch was burnt by 10 minutes so I turned the oven down to 375 and they were still done before 10 minutes had passed, so keep your eye on them the first time.)
They are a rather plain cookie (or cake?) but that sweet honey taste gives them a nice flavour. You could even switch things up by using different types of honey. Or, you could try my second variation.
Lemon Cranberry Nut Honey Drop Cakes
- 1/3 cup softened butter
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 egg, separated
- 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice
- zest from 1/2 lemon
- 1 1/2 cups whole white flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup each dried cranberries and chopped walnuts
Combine the batter as outlined for the original recipe, adding the lemon zest in with the juice, and folding in the cranberries and walnuts before the egg white. Cook on greased pans at 375 for 8 – 10 minutes, or until done.
This week was Pie Week on the Pioneer Woman’s blog. (WordPress seems to be having technical difficulties this morning and I can’t insert links. Sigh. There is a link to her blog from my sidebar if you want to go take a look.)
I actually wasn’t particularly interested in the pies and kind of scanned through in my daily reading not expecting to find anything that I wanted to make.
And then one caught my eye. Cranberry Pie. Now that’s something different. I actually took the time to read the recipe – full of white flour and cups and cups of white sugar. I promptly closed my browser without adding the recipe to favourites and wrote it off as a neat idea but something I would never duplicate.
But it sat there in the back of my mind. Cranberry Pie. I had frozen cranberries in my freezer. I could make some substitutions to make it healthier. I could try out the new palm sugar I just bought. Finally I convinced myself that it could be done and I went back to the computer to print out the original. (http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/11/nantucket-cranberry-pie/)
And I am glad I did.
Although I am sure my version tastes nothing like the original, I love the sweetened, yet still slightly tart whole cranberries on the bottom, the crunch of the nuts, and the rustic crust on top. With the honey and nuts it reminded me a little of butter tart squares, but a more wholesome less sickeningly sweet version. I made half the recipe and created an 8-inch pie, which was perfect as hubby won’t touch anything made with cranberries. Due to the lack of pastry it took no time at all to make and yet I think it still looks fancy enough to serve to guests (not that we were having guests, but if we did, I would feel confident serving it.)
- 1 heaping cup of cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1/3 cup pecans
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup sugar (I used date palm sugar)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1/2 tsp. almond extract
- pinch of salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8-inch pie plate. (This recipe is easily doubled for a larger pie so if you are serving a crowd go ahead and grease a 10-inch)
This is the palm sugar I bought at our local bulk foods store. It is grainy and not granular like sugar cane sugar, and from my understanding is a lot less processed.
Bake for 30 – 40 minutes (slightly longer if you doubled the recipe for a larger pie) until the top is cooked through and the cranberries are bubbling.
This was really yummy served with a little homemade maple ice cream, but would also be nice with whipped cream, or even eaten on its own. Cranberries make it a great pie for Thanksgiving or Christmas, too!Read More
Fall has arrived in earnest with it’s cooler temperatures, frosty mornings, and crunchy leaves.
The kind of weather that makes you want to spend the day in the kitchen making toasty warm things.
And what better things to cook on a cool fall day than squash and cranberries? I have an abundance of squash from the garden, and one of my students presented me with a huge bag of fresh-picked cranberries, and another bag of dried cranberries, from a cranberry farm his family owns. (I know, I am very lucky!)
I tried two new recipes this week-end and they were both amazing.
For dinner I made Cornbread and Cranberry Stuffed Squash. I made my cornbread partly with purple cornflour, hence the dark hue, but whatever the colour this was so delicious! The perfect amount of bread and seasonings, and I wish you could have smelled the kitchen when I was making the stuffing – so yummy!
The second recipe was for Sourdough Muffins. I have still not had a successful sourdough bread experience, but boy do I love my sourdough waffles, pancakes and crackers, and I have now added muffins onto the list of my favourites. I made the muffins as described and then stirred in about a 1/2 cup of homemade cranberry sauce, along with some ginger and allspice. I didn’t find the muffins sour tasting at all – just moist and spicy and full of cranberry goodness.
As much as I hate to see the warm temperatures go, I do enjoy seasonal cooking!
What are your fall favourites?Read More