Almost every holiday of my entire life was spent in this room.
Every Thanksgiving and Christmas and birthday and anniversary and random you-got-all-As-on-your report card dinners.
There would be giggles and laughter and conversation as my family and a few random guests invited at the last minute all gathered in the dining room together to celebrate the occasion. The table would be set with my grandmother’s china and cloth napkins and my mother would bring in all the dishes and put them on the sideboard. And there—tucked amongst the broccoli and sweet potato casserole and green beans and stuffing would be my favorite food of all.
My mother’s cranberry bread.
Manna from heaven.
She’d make half a dozen loaves at a time and we’d eat some that day and freeze the rest for later.
This year I’m carrying on the tradition.
So today, on DAY SIX of “12 Days of Getting Ready for Christmas” I’m joining my amazing friend Leslie from My 100-Year-Old-Home with simple recipe ideas you can make ahead and stock your freezer.
I’m sharing my mother’s cranberry bread.
And adding my own spin to it.
Just a little twist to make the crust crunchier.
KariAnne’s Mother’s World Famous Cranberry Bread Recipe
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon orange peel grated
- 1 egg well-beaten
- 1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts
- 2 tablespoons white sugar (for crust)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″x 5″ loaf pan and coat with sugar (you’ll use sugar here instead of the traditional “flouring” it).
- Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl.
- Stir in orange juice, butter, orange peel and egg. Mix until well blended.
- Stir in cranberries and nuts.
- Spread evenly in loaf pan.
- Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool on rack for 15 minutes.
- Remove from pan and cool completely.
It is delicious.
The sugar in the loaf pan makes the edges crispy with a little crunch. The inside of the bread has this amazing flavor with the orange and the cranberry.
It tastes like a celebration.
My mother’s best tip for freezing bread? She wrapped it in plastic wrap and then wrapped it in foil before putting it in the freezer. When it thawed out you could still taste the crunch.
If you are looking for another make-ahead idea to freeze, my mother-in-law’s snickerdoodle recipe is one of the best.
(total aside: I think I get extra credit for working my mother AND my mother-in-law into a post.)
I shared this recently, but it’s worth a repeat.
KariAnne’s Mother-in-Law’s World Famous Snickerdoodle Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 2 eggs
- 2 3/4 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsps Cream of Tartar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Cream sugar and butter.
- Add eggs, vanilla, and dry ingredients (except the 3 Tbsps of sugar and the 1 tsp of cinnamon).
- Mix the 3 Tbsps of sugar with the 1 tsp of cinnamon in a separate bowl.
- Roll into 1 inch balls and cover with sugar/cinnamon mixture.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Place cooled cookies in an air-tight container or freezer bag. Make SURE they are cooled before you freeze them so they don’t stick together.
PS And now be sure and stop by my friend Leslie’s to see her favorite make-ahead and freeze Christmas recipes.
“12 Days of Getting Ready for Christmas”
Here’s a recap of everything we’ve shared over the last 5 days:
DAY 4: 30-minute handmade gift idea
DAY 4: Handmade creative gift ideas