I've had this recipe for a long time and I can't even remember where I got it from. I've always liked the flexibility of it. I can use canned cranberry sauce, leftover cranberry sauce, fresh berries (more tart flavor) or dehydrated cranberries. I like to add some orange zest and a splash of either fresh orange juice or orange extract for a little extra flavor but you can leave that out and just use vanilla extract or almond extract if you prefer. You can also add chopped nuts for extra crunch and flavor OR you can substitute up to 3/4 cup of gluten free flour with finely ground nuts instead. The recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a bundt pan, coffee can without a lip on it, or two bread loaf pans. I just used the single recipe below that makes 1 regular size loaf pan. (You can also bake in muffin cups or mini loaf pans but you will need to adjust your baking time).
For this recipe, I went back to my roots and baked them "old school". I baked my loaf in an empty can. Yep, the old fashioned hillbilly way. When I was a young child, my mom and her dear friend Rosemary used to always bake the holiday breads in empty coffee cans or the mini loaves in soup cans. They would wrap the cooled bread in plastic wrap and tie with a bow for gift giving to neighbors or sometimes we would decorate the empty coffee can with wrapping paper and put the cooled bread back inside the can and cover with the plastic coffee can lid and put a sticky bow on top. Simple. Easy. I thought everyone made bread this way until I got older and noticed some people used loaf pans. I asked my mom why we used cans to bake our holiday breads. My mom's answer: you can make multiple batches of bread and bake at the same time because the cans take up less space in the oven and cans are free plus you can throw them away after you are done using them and not have to store them all year long. Not to mention...they look super cool when sliced because they are circles! :)
I have multiple sizes of bread loaf pans but nothing makes me smile more than when I see bread slices that have been baked in cans. It brings back a flood of happy holiday memories and takes me back home to the best cooks I know! I catch myself looking for coffee in real cans (without lips on them because the bread will not slide out if there is a lip on the top!) during the holiday season. I was at a friends house over the weekend and I saw her about ready to toss her 40 oz. empty can into the recycle bin. I snagged it and brought home my "loaf pan can" so I could bake my bread in it for today's recipe. (My husband rolls his eyes when I do this). You just grease or spray the inside of the empty can with butter or oil and fill 2/3 full. Cover with foil and keep it right side up just like you are storing it on a shelf & bake in the oven for the same amount of time you do for the appropriate size loaf. Since this is a single loaf pan size recipe....I baked mine in a 40 oz. empty sweet potato can. Worked perfect. I hate to admit that I am washing and keeping the can to bake another loaf soon. I can't help it... I love the round slices! :) I also admit that I plan on buying my coffee in a can for this month so I can use the can to bake my holiday bread!
If you don't have a gluten allergy then you can just use regular flour. The original recipe called for regular flour but I have tweaked it to work with gluten free flour.
Cranberry Bread Recipe:
- 1/2 cup sugar (I used raw sugar but you can use regular granulated sugar or brown sugar)
- 1/3 cup oil + 2 tbs
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 1/2 cup gluten free flour (I used Trader Joe's brand today because I didn't have any of my own mix prepared). If your gluten free flour doesn't contain guar gum or xanthan gum you will need to add 1/2 tsp. of either of them to the recipe so it doesn't turn out crumbly. I used xanthan gum. You can substitute up to 3/4 cup of finely ground nuts in place of 3/4 cup flour.
- zest of 1 orange (optional)
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (you can add more if you want)
- 2 tsp. orange extract (or substitute vanilla extract or almond extract)
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds or pecans), optional
- 1/2 cup cranberry sauce (If you are using fresh cranberries then increase your sugar by 1/3 cup because they will be more tart. If you are using dried cranberries then add 1/2 cup boiling water and let them sit for about 5 minutes to plump. Discard water).
|Some of the ingredients I used today|
Combine the eggs, oil, extract and sugar. Slowly mix in the baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, gluten free flour (and add 1/2 tsp. guar gum or xanthan gum if your gluten free mix doesn't already contain it). Add cranberry sauce (or cranberries), orange zest and nuts if you are adding them. Don't overmix. Just stir until combined. Pour into a greased loaf pan or can. Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 45-55 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean and top is lightly golden. (Oven temperatures and altitude may vary cooking times). Check at 45 minutes and then again every 5 minutes until done. My loaf took 50 minutes. Mark it on your recipe for future cooking. Usually I bake muffins for 18-22 minutes and mini loaves about 30-35 minutes but you will need to check them at the minimal baking time and adjust accordingly.
If you think you may have over baked it a little then just put some foil over the top when you remove it from the oven to trap in some moisture and that may just salvage your loaf! :) Just leave the foil on for about 10-15 minutes and then remove it. You want to trap the moisture but not make the bread "sweat". Another tip I would like to share is that if you make a sweet bread or cake and it doesn't turn out just perfect....cut it up in chunks and let it dry out like you would for croutons. You can "recycle" the bread chunks by making into a delicious baked french toast, bread pudding or use the crumbs for my "Cookie Crumb Cake Recipe (November 2012 recipe on blog)! Baking isn't cheap and I don't like to waste it even if it isn't perfect.
The first time I converted this bread recipe to gluten free, the recipe called for only 2 eggs but the bread turned out slightly crumbly and felt a little too heavy although it was still tasty. Gluten Free flours are a bit trickier to work with than traditional flour so sometimes you have to tweak each recipe depending on how "heavy" it is. I felt that 3 eggs worked out better than 2.
NOTE: I use cans that do not have the white lining in them. I am not sure if it is safe to bake in the cans with the white lining therefore I just don't do it.
Let cool for at least 30 minutes before removing from loaf pan or can. I find this recipe tastes better the next day and slices best when chilled. It looks awesome sliced and put on a glass plate for gift giving or for brunch (especially the round slices!) I love baking my holiday breads in the round loaves and slicing them up. People always ask where I got my special round baking pans. :) I guess they don't know my hillbilly secret: "Recycled Cans"!
Did I mention that this bread is absolutely delightful when you slice it into the chunky circles and lightly toast it? Spread a dab of real butter on top. Mmmmm....my mouth is watering now!
|This is how full I filled can with batter|
|Fresh from the oven!|
|Cooling in the can for 20-30 minutes before removing|
|Just removed from the can|
|This one is ready to give to a friend. Sometimes I decorate with curly ribbon and tags.|
|This is my slice that I will have for breakfast. Yummy!|
|Up close view of the bread. See the pieces of cranberry & orange zest?|
|Yummy! This tastes great with a dab of butter or cream cheese!|
I hope you enjoy this recipe that I have been making for many years. If you don't have a gluten allergy or you are making this for someone that doesn't then you can just use regular flour. I don't care for the gluten free flour blends that contain sorghum for my sweet breads although they work well for savory breads.
You can add a light glaze on this bread by mixing powdered sugar with either orange juice, milk or water to get a consistency for drizzling. I don't add the glaze because I like the flavor of the bread plain. If I were making muffins and wanted to dress them up a little bit, I might add a little drizzle of the glaze but otherwise...no. I like my bread plain and simple.
Gluten Free Casually