Cranberry Swirl Bread

Cranberry Bread
This recipe is about a week too late. I should have posted it immediately after Thanksgiving – but, after hosting two back-to-back Thanksgiving dinners, I succumbed to post-holiday laziness and didn’t get around to it until today. Apologies for my tardiness. So, close your eyes, pretend it’s Black Friday, you’ve finished shopping and you’re staring at a fridge full of leftovers – including a big Tuppperware of cranberry sauce. My go-to Thanksgiving cranberry sauce makes a generous four cups of the sparingly-used condiment and, after the big T-day, I always have a bowl of leftover sauce hogging fridge space. I have a few recipes for using up the leftover sauce including cranberry panna cotta, cranberry gelato and, my personal favorite, cranberry-cherry tart. Rather than my standard array of dessert fare,  this year I wanted to make a lovely, not-too-sweet cranberry swirl bread that could be toasted, slathered with mayo and layered with leftover turkey and warm stuffing for the ultimate savory post-holiday turkey sandwich. I’m rather happy with the results – I used the bread for sandwiches on Friday, French toast on Saturday and, finally, a creamy bread pudding studded with tart cranberry swirls on Sunday.


Cranberry Swirl Bread

  • Servings: One 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf
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Adapted from Joy of Cooking’s Fast White Bread recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 cups bread flour, divided
  • 2 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 package Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup very warm water (115⁰ – 120⁰ – this is warmer than normal yeast activation temperature)
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce, drained
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • pinch salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Turbinado sugar (like Sugar in the Raw) or white sugar

Directions

  1. In the bowl of the mixer, add two cups of bread flour, sugar, yeast, and salt (yeast and salt should not touch as salt can retard yeast activation). Add water and melted butter and combine on low to medium speed. Gradually add the remaining 1 cup of flour until the dough is moist by not sticky (you may not need to add the entire cup). Knead for about 10 minutes on medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in volume (about 30 minutes).
  2. Preheat oven to 450⁰. Grease an 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf pan. Punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into an 8-inch x 12- inch rectangle. Cover dough with cranberry sauce..
  3. Starting at the short end, roll up the dough, jellyroll style, pinching the ends closed to contain the cranberry filling. Place the dough in the loaf pan, seam side down. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again until doubled in volume (about 30 minutes).
  4. Brush beaten egg over top of loaf, sprinkle with salt and turbinado sugar. Bake in 450⁰ oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350⁰ and continue baking for about 30 minutes more. If the top of the loaf is brown, cover with foil until loaf is fully cooked. Remove loaf from pan and let cool completely on a rack. Slice, toast, slather with mayo and make the best leftover turkey sandwich ever.

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Cranberry Cherry Oatmeal Bars

Cranberry Oatmeal Bars

Trusting has been difficult for me, yet of the highest importance. I don’t trust easily – or often. It takes years of loyalty to gain my trust, one bad deed to destroy it. One boyfriend, The Irishman, managed to garner my complete trust during our exceedingly brief 8-month relationship. At the time, I should have questioned it further – why did I trust him, what was his secret trust sauce? Because now, I could use a magnum of it. I find myself obliged to trust others with my livelihood, my reputation, my future, my pride and, most importantly, my heart. Utter reliability on others has never been my forte and, today, I’m left vulnerable. I possess no options except to close my eyes, fall back from a great height, and pray someone’s there to catch me.

While I anxiously await answers to my immediate future, I divert myself with this holiday-appropriate use for leftover cranberry sauce, using last week’s recipe.

Cranberry Cherry Oatmeal Bars

Inspired by Bon Appétit’s Double Cherry Streusel Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce
  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 8×8-inch baking pan with heavy-duty foil, leaving overhang. Spray foil with nonstick spray.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in processor; blend for 5 seconds. Add butter and extract. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk and pulse until mixture comes together in small clumps.
  3. Transfer ½ cup (packed) mixture to small bowl and reserve for streusel. Blend remaining mixture in processor until large moist clumps form. Press dough over bottom of prepared pan. Don’t clean processor bowl. Bake dough until golden, about 15 minutes; cool crust 15 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.
  4. While crust bakes and cools, blend cranberry sauce in processor into a chunky puree. Add oatmeal and walnuts to reserved 1/2 cup dough. Mix dough with fork or fingers, breaking streusel topping into small clumps.
  5. Spread cranberry sauce over baked crust. Sprinkle streusel topping over. Bake until filling is bubbling and streusel topping is golden brown, about 20-30 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Using foil overhang as aid, lift from pan. Peel off foil and discard. Cut cookies into 16 bars.

Cranberry-Dried Cherry Tart

Cranberry Dried Cherry Tart

If I can’t find a new situation, how do I find contentment in my current state?

I have been begging anyone who will listen to help me escape from my daily slog. So far, my pleas appear to have fallen on deaf ears. Now I’ve begun to wonder, if it’s not time for my situation to change, how do I find contentment with what I have?”   Not, “what can I do/change/buy to find contentment,” but “how can I find contentment where I am right now with what I have?” If I never break free, I don’t want to live this life unhappily.   I can’t look for solutions externally; I can’t change who I am. So, how do I find happiness with what is here, now?

My temporary placation, as I ponder my predicament, comes in the form of a sugar pacifier. Thanksgiving just isn’t complete without cranberry sauce, but my favorite recipe makes 4 ½ cups and I’m always left with a large Tupperware container of the stuff after the main event. This year, I decided to make a tart with the leftovers and, full of chagrin, devoured the whole thing in two days.

Cranberry-Dried Cherry Tart
Inspired by Bon Appetit’s Cranberry Sauce and Amanda Hesser’s Peach Tart
Makes one 9”-10” tart

Cranberry Sauce & Filling
2 ½ c. Cherry cider
1 8 oz. pkg. dried tart cherries
1 c. Sugar
1 12 oz. pkg. cranberries
¼ t. (generous) Ground cloves
Tart Crust and Topping
1 ½ c. plus 2 Tablespoons All-purpose flour
½ plus ¼ teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon White sugar
¼ c. Canola oil
¼ c. Mild olive oil
2 Tablespoons Whole or 2% milk
½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
½ c. Demerara sugar
2 Tablespoons Cold, unsalted butter

Make the Filling Bring cider to simmer in a large saucepan. Remove from heat and add dried cherries. Let stand for 8-10 minutes. Mix in sugar, cranberries and cloves. Cook over medium high heat until cranberries burst, stirring occasionally, about 9-10 minutes. Refrigerated until cold, at least 4 hours. Sauce will thicken as it cools. Make the Tart Heat the oven to 425. In a bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar. In a small bowl, whisk together the oils, milk and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix gently with a fork, just until dampen. Do not overmix. Transfer the dough to a 9 or 10-inch tart pan and pat out the dough so it evenly covers the bottom and sides of the pan to the rim. In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 cup demerara sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the butter. Using your fingers, pinch the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly like wet sand and small pebbles. Fill the tart shell with the cranberry mixture (you may have extra). Sprinkle all of the streusel mixture over top. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the tart is bubbly and the crust is slightly brown. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or room temperature.

Cranberry & Dried Cherry Tart