When I was growing up, I used to watch my Mom bake Christmas gifts for her friends. She would put together a treat basket that included a loaf of gingerbread, a slab of homemade fudge, haystacks (delicious butterscotch candy that I’ll share soon), and a loaf of this cranberry apricot bread. I think she included this bread because all of the other goodies are brown and this colorful loaf brightened up the whole basket. She would line up the sweets on the counter, and then daintily place them in pretty cellophane bags before tying a shiny ribbon on each one. My Dad and I would hang around the kitchen vying for scraps and tiny bites of fudge that wouldn’t fit in the bags.
Fast forward 10 years, and I found myself doing the same thing for my friends in college—same recipes and same cellophane bags with ribbon. I guess the saying is true: like mother, like daughter. To this day, we’re both the dedicated birthday cake bakers for our coworkers.
My Mom credits my love of cooking to the fact that when I was very little, she used to put me in my car seat and set me up on the counter every night so I could watch her cook dinner.
I still like to watch her cook. I have to smile when I see how anxious she gets when someone tries to step in and help. Again, I’m the same way: I like to cook for people, not with them. This year, my Mom made the majority of Thanksgiving dinner before I arrived home, so I didn’t get a chance to tell her to save 1/4 cup of fresh cranberries for this bread before she made the cranberry sauce. If you don’t have any leftover fresh cranberries, feel free to subsitute dried ones.
I hope y’all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I sure did. Now, it’s holiday baking season—get to it!
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
- 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
- 2 tablespoons pecans, chopped (optional)
- 1 lare egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- Preheat the oven to 350, and grease a mini loaf pan (5" x 3" x2") with shortening.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and baking powder. Add the chopped fruit (and nuts, if using) and stir to coat with the flour.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter and lemon zest. Pour this over the dry mixture and stir until no streaks of flour remain (but be careful not to overmix).
- Scrape into the loaf pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let cool in the loaf pan for 5 minutes before gently tipping it out on a wire rack to cool completely. Serve with butter.