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Cranberry Pecan Bread

Cranberry Pecan Bread (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

* 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
* 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped coarse
* 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
* 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
* 2/3 cup buttermilk
* 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
* 1 large egg, beaten lightly
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 1/2 cranberries, chopped coarse

Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out extra.

Stir together the orange zest, orange juice, buttermilk, butter, and egg in a small bowl. [At this point I freaked out because the buttermilk looked like it curdled a little with the addition of orange juice. This didn’t seem to matter because the bread came out perfectly—so don’t freak out.] Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients with a spatula until just moistened. Gently stir in the cranberries and pecans. Do not overmix. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° F; continue to bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes longer. Cool in the pan 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool at least 1 hour before serving. The bread can then be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for several days.

***The recipe makes one loaf but I would guess that you could double this if you wanted to. It would be nice to have one to give as a gift or bring to work.

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