This IS really good cranberry bread! Follow the recipe and you’ll get tender cake, an easy quick-bread, and a flavorful dense muffin all in the same bite. Made with fresh cranberries that are juicy, tart and tangy, crystallized ginger that is ginger-ale in candy form – bright, spicy and fruity but not overpowering, and lemon zest for a bright but subtle after-taste.
The mini-loaf version is perfect for gift-giving or for cutting into bite-sized pieces to serve at a party. Seriously, this quick bread recipe is melt-in-your-mouth moist, sweet and tart, as well as crisp-crunchy all at the same time. It just might become a regularly requested treat.
I’ve got a few tips to help make this recipe fool-proof for perfectly moist loaves; be sure not to over-beat the batter after incorporating flour or the bread will be tough. Also watch your loaves as they bake, the bread should be taken out of the oven when a few crumbs still cling to a toothpick inserted in the middle. (Baked goods continue to “finish” after being removed from the heat.)
Cranberries have many health benefits, and they’re delicious when added to smoothies, salads or even oatmeal. Plus, there are many great recipes featuring cranberries; like Cranberry Upside Down Cake, Cranberry Pomegranate Relish and let me tell you, this Cranberry Fruit Salad is the BEST fluff salad recipe you’ll ever make. So, before the cranberry season ends, stock up on extra bags and you’ll have fresh-frozen cranberries ready all year long (cranberries can be refrigerated for 3-4 weeks and frozen for 10-12 months).
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- Note: If you don't have unsalted butter, do not add the ½ teaspoon salt listed above and just use regular salted butter
- 1⅓ cups granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 3 large eggs
- ¼ cup plus 1 Tablespoon milk, any fat content (I used whole milk)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, picked over
- ¼ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
- ¾ cup powdered (confectioner's) sugar
- 5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- Pinch salt
- Note: If glaze is too thin, add more powdered sugar until desired pouring thickness is reached
- For the bread, preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease one regular loaf pan (8½- by 4½-inch), or four mini (6- by 3-inch) with butter or cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt, Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl, using a hand mixer) set on medium speed, beat together butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating to combine after each addition.
- Turn the mixer to low and gradually add the flour mixture and milk. Beat until just combined.
- Take care not to over beat or the bread will be tough.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a rubber spatula. Stir in the cranberries and chopped crystallized ginger.
- Pour the batter into prepared pan(s) and level with a spatula.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs attached, 50 to 60 minutes for regular sized pan, 25-28 minutes for mini pans. Let the bread sit in the pan for 10 minutes.
- Run a knife around the outside and turn the pan upside down to release the bread. Let cool on a wire rack for 1 hour, then glaze.
- For the glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest, and salt until combined. Drizzle over cooled quick bread.