I am extremely stressed out right now. To be fair, I spend at least three-quarters of my time dealing with stress or worry or anxiety, but in addition to the normal pressures of my brain and my life, I am trying to finish my dissertation by the end of June, get all of us out the door in the morning, and keep the house somewhat in order, all while feeling like the world is crashing down politically and otherwise.
So on a grey yesterday, I fled the university as soon as I was able in order to work from home. My time ended up with more “home” than “work,” but I was able to prepare dinner, bake bread, and revisit a recipe for cranberry orange walnut bread which I would like to share.
The recipe comes from Isa Chandra Moscowitz and Terry Hope Romano’s Veganomicon, which I originally bought for my husband for Christmas on a whim, as the name made me laugh, particularly as he had learned how to cook vegetables from some friends and referred to those lessons as “veggimancy.” (Yes, we are nerds and proud.)
Last year, when we decided to avoid eating meat or other animal products during Lent, it was a helpful resource, although I still haven’t used as many of the recipes as I would like. Since last year, I’ve enjoyed experimenting with plant-based cooking, though we are still confirmed omnivores. It’s just fun!
So, the recipe. It’s a fairly standard quick bread, and according to the writers, is based on an older Fannie Farmer recipe. (Note to self – spend more time reading up on Fannie Farmer. She seems like an excellent, fascinating person.)
I tweaked the recipe to include whole wheat flour and some spelt and decreased the sugar, as I almost always find vegan baking recipes to taste too sweet. I used 3 tablespoons of sugar in the bread and 1 tablespoon of sparkling sugar on top. It was good, though I think increasing the sugar in the cake by 1 tablespoon would work nicely as well and make the crumb a bit more tender.
1 1/4 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
1 T orange zest
3-4 T granulated sugar, divided
1 T sparkling sugar (optional but I really liked it here)
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup oil (I used olive)
1/2 cup nondairy milk (I used vanilla flavored soy)
2 cups flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat, 1/2 cup spelt, and 1/2 cup all purpose flour.)
1/2 t salt
1 1/4 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
2/3 cup walnuts, chopped
(for additional flavor, you can toast the walnuts for 5-7 mins in a 400 degree oven)
Prepare a 9×5 loaf pan by greasing and flouring it. Preheat the oven to 325 Fahrenheit.
Chop cranberries and add 2 T of the sugar and the orange zest and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine orange juice, oil, and non-dairy milk. Add the remaining granulated sugar.
In a large mesh sieve placed over the mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift into the liquid ingredients.
Quickly combine the wet and dry ingredients with as few strokes as possible, and then add cranberries and walnuts and stir till just combined.
Place batter (it will be thick, almost a dough) in the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the sparkling sugar, if using, over the top.
Bake for 55-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out without batter on it.