For the last few weeks I have been having house guests off and on, and while it has been a lot of fun, having many people at home is also quite an exercise in coordination.
The differences start early in the day and continue on till next day. There are early risers and late risers, coffee drinkers, tea drinkers, bournvita drinkers, and lactose intolerant soymilk drinkers. Cereal eaters, toast eaters, egg eaters, rice eaters, roti eaters, spice haters, spice needers, short nappers, long nappers, non nappers, slow walkers, fast walkers, early sleepers, late sleepers, and so on it goes. They are all excused though, they are family.
The gang was supposed to arrive in the late afternoon, too late for lunch and too early for dinner. So I baked this cranberry orange bread earlier in the day so they could have it as a quick snack. I skipped the glaze, since there is enough sugar in it already, and also because there were children in the party. This is yet another of those 'is this a bread or cake' conundrums, but whatever you call it, it is a moist, sweet, slice-able, delicious loaf that is easy to make, and disappears almost as soon as it is put out for consumption. Yes, it is darned rich too, which is why I usually bake it when sharing it with several other people.
Here is the recipe, nearly verbatim, but halved for one loaf.
Cranberry Orange Bread (with Grand Marnier Glaze)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus more for buttering pan
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups dried cranberries
For the glaze, if making
1 cup powdered (confectioner's) sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
1. Preheat oven to 330°. Butter a 6-cup-capacity loaf pan.
2. With an electric or standing mixer on medium speed, cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Add orange juice, sour cream, orange zest, and vanilla; mix until blended.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture and cranberries to wet ingredients and mix just until dry ingredients are absorbed; do not overmix.
4. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for about 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of bread comes out clean.
5. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and transfer to a cooling rack set over a large baking sheet.
6. For the optional glaze: in a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and 3 tablespoon Grand Marnier. Glaze should have consistency of thick maple syrup or corn syrup. If it is too thick, thin with an additional liqueur by the teaspoon.
With a thin skewer or long toothpick, poke deep holes in the top of the loaf. Drizzle with Grand Marnier glaze so that it coats the top, runs down the sides, and seeps through the holes.
7. Let the loaf cool completely before slicing.