Can baking teach equanimity? In my case it did. A long time ago, I presented my mother-in-law with a beautiful loaf of cranberry nut bread for Christmas, which I (a novice baker at the time) managed to prepare with two toddlers underfoot in my tiny kitchen using an overly complicated recipe. Let's just say, she didn't appreciate the gift. It bothered me for a while (ok, years), but the more I came to understand her and her lovable quirkiness, philosophical pronouncements (we called her the Yogi Bera of Queens) and witnessed the devotion of her children, the disappointment of my gift's rejection disappeared. I loved spending time with Lucy, and I think of her fondly whenever I bake this bread.
This Cranberry Fruit-Nut Bread, a vintage recipe from an Amish collection I purchased a few years ago, is the best I've made so far. It's the easiest and yields the best looking loaf. Donald Trump would give it a 10. You can see the other two here and here.
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and add in the cranberries and nuts. It's better not to use a mixer (as I learned) because the cranberries get crushed. Do it the old fashioned way with a wooden spoon for a better result.
Mix the juice, egg, orange zest and butter together. I measured the juice, then added everything else into the measuring cup to save on clean up.
Grease (or spray) a loaf pan, and spoon the batter in, spreading it evenly.
Let it cool in the pan for ten minutes before turning it out.
Production notes: I followed this recipe exactly, using butter (not margarine) and did not cut the cranberries in half. It might result in a slightly better loaf, but I don't think it's worth the very tedious effort. You can get a teaspoon of zest from one orange. After step 5, the recipe gets weird and seems to morph into another recipe entirely. Just ignore it.