I’ve been baking bread from Rose’s Bread Bible for many years, and over the years a number of her recipes have become staples for me. One of my staples was our first recipe from the bake-along for blueberry muffins. You can find the review of that recipe here.
Another go-to recipe of Rose’s is one that I bake every year during the holiday season for gift giving. It is a sure-fire crowd pleaser. Rose’s Cranberry-Banana-Walnut Quick Bread is as quick and easy to make as the name implies. I typically double the recipe and bake it in small (6” X 2.5”) disposable loaf pans that I buy at Sur La Table. You can buy these individually for $.75 US each. A double recipe will make five loaves (filling the pans almost to the top) and you may have a bit left for a muffin or two. When baking, I place the filled loaf pans on a cookie sheet so they are well supported and I can easily transport them to and from the oven. I bake these loaves for approximately 45 minutes at 350°. Muffins will take approximately 20 minutes. Naturally, they will bake a little more quickly if you bake using convection mode.
The flavor of this bread is a nice juxtaposition of sweet bananas and tart cranberries, and while the flavor combo is a bit more complex, it is no more difficult to make than your typical banana nut bread. One important note is that Rose recommends that you cut your cranberries in half before adding them to the batter. Being the lazy girl that I am, I just put them in the food processor and pulse for a moment. This normally works well, but this time around I used previously frozen and thawed berries. After thawing and pulsing, I had a bit of liquid in the bowl. Although I drained the berries, I still ended up with a bit of discoloration in the finished bread. For this reason, I would not recommend using thawed cranberries. Use fresh berries, or pulse them and fold into the batter while they are still frozen.
By the way, I failed to mention that the baked mini-loaves freeze very well. I typically bake these (and a favorite pound cake recipe) early in the month and then I put them in ziplock bags and freeze them. As I am making my holiday rounds and know that I will see a recipient I pull one out of the freezer.
While Rose has never published the recipe outside of the book, there is a version of the recipe on food.com that is close. If you are looking for a giftable recipe, this may be the one for you. I have often given these packaged in a gift bag along with a Christmas card and Starbucks gift card. That way the recipient can get a hot beverage to accompany their sweet treat. Don’t be surprised if the feedback you receive is that it was so good the recipient ate it all in one sitting.
If you try this recipe, I’m eager to hear about your results. Also, if you have other baked “gift-ables”that you make, I’d love to hear about them!