Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cranberry Nut Bread w/ Brown Butter Icing

Cranberry Nut Bread with Brown Butter Icing

I slathered this cranberry nut bread with a generous helping of burnt-butter icing. The rich, crackly glaze was a perfect foil for the tart berries and orange zest. I think the loaf would look exceptionally festive with some chopped sugared nuts on top.

I think this is a great recipe for the holiday season. It's simple, and yields an attractive, portable, delicious product. I ended up making it twice this week; the first time, the bread was done a good twenty minutes before the baking time. The second time, I needed the full hour. I think I was a little haphazard with my flour and liquid measurements. Anyway, the wet mixture will incorporate better if you combine the butter and egg before adding the other ingredients.

I'm off to Manhattan tomorrow to spend Thanksgiving with my sister. I'm planning to visit some of my old favorites (Payard, breakfast at Balthazar, Grom, maybe Cafe Sabarsky, City Bakery, or Lupa) and a few new places (Amai, Barrio Chino, Joe The Art of Coffee, Doughnut Plant). I love walking around aimlessly- I'll often walk over 100 blocks in one go!

I did a ton of baking last week- i've worked my way through some cookie recipes and 5-6 recipes from Classic Home Desserts. I will share soon!

Cranberry Nut Bread
adapted from Cook's Illustrated
1/3 cup orange juice
grated zest from 1 large orange
2/3 cup buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 large egg, beaten lightly
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups cranberries, chopped coarse
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped coarse

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease bottom of 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, or line it with foil or parchment. Stir together orange juice, zest, buttermilk, butter, and egg in small bowl. Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in large bowl. Stir liquid ingredients into dry with rubber spatula until just moistened. Gently stir in cranberries and pecans. Do not overmix.

2. Scrape batter into loaf pan and spread with rubber spatula into corners of pan. Bake 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees; continue to bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, about 45 minutes longer. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool at least 1 hour before serving. If using icing, glaze the loaf while still warm and let harden at room temperature.

Burnt Butter Icing
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tbsp milk

While the loaf is cooling, heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, swiring the pan constantly, until the butter is golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the butter to a bowl and whisk in the confectioners' sugar and milk. Pour all of the icing over the cake and spread to cover.


Christina said...

Looking through the ingredients and seeing your pictures, that bread is definitely one I need to try. And the brown butter icing on top is a great idea!

Snooky doodle said...

this looks so nice and festive

Australian guide said...

A stunning looking cake. The colours are lovely. Have fun in Manhattan!

Debbie said...

Looks delicious....I think I will try this. I especially like the icing....

annie said...

The loaf looks like it could be devoured in no time. I just have a question in regards to the cranberries...can we use fresh,frozen, or dried? What was used in your recipe? Thank you for your inspired recipes.Annie

Pittsburgh Needs Eated said...

Hi Annie-

Fresh would be best, but I think frozen (not defrosted) would also work.

Joanna said...

this looks absolutely amazing!! have a fun time in new york. i love walking around that city. it's impossible not to stumble upon fun places.

it's so nice to find another pittsburgh blogger!! i live in the south hills.

Aran said...


Meg said...

I made this for breakfast/snacking on Thanksgiving and it was the first thing to go. My mother barely eats, and she had two thick slices. I have to stockpile cranberries in the freezer so I can make this when they're out of season. Thanks!