by Diane Rossen Worthington
A quick bread doesn't rely upon yeast to rise; rather, baking powder or baking soda acts as the leavening agent. You don't have to let the dough rise, nor do you knead it; just a quick mix of ingredients and pop it in the oven. What you gain in saving time, you give up in light airy texture. Most quick breads are dense and very moist. Not a bad thing if you ask me.
I love the smell of bread baking in my kitchen on cool autumn days, and this recipe has a particularly wonderful fragrance. Toasted hazelnuts add just the right flavor to this orange-scented bread. If you can't find hazelnuts, sliced almonds are a good alternative. You can usually find nuts already chopped in bags in your supermarket. Look for sweetened dried cranberries to add just the right sweet and tangy flavor layer to the bread.
For fall baking, I use pumpkin pie spice that has nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and allspice blended together -- a Seriously Simple tip. I use it in much of my fall baking when I want to include those toasty, comforting flavors. When friends drop by, I'll serve slices of this delectable and homey bread with a mug of spiced apple cider or tea. Serve with a ramekin of orange-honey butter or honey and mascarpone blended together.
This makes 2 loaves. I often freeze one, defrost it and warm it in the morning to set the mood for the day. Sometimes I use it to make pumpkin cranberry bread pudding. You'll be glad you have the second loaf.
Orange Spiced Pumpkin Bread with Hazelnuts and Cranberries
Makes two 4-by-8-inch loaves.
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon EACH, cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, ground ginger and allspice
1/4 cup unsalted butter, (1/2 stick) softened
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon finely chopped orange zest
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 4-by-8-inch loaf pans.
2. Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly browned. Reserve.
3. Combine all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl or on a sheet of wax paper and reserve.
4. In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and both of the sugars with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add the eggs, orange zest, orange juice and pumpkin and blend on low speed until just blended.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the mixture on low speed, mixing until just blended. DO NOT OVER MIX. Add the cranberries and mix just enough to combine.
6. Transfer the mixture into the loaf pans evenly and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan at for least 15 minutes and then turn the bread out onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Make Ahead: This bread tastes best on the day it's baked. It freezes well wrapped in foil for up to 2 months.
Bread Recipe, American Cuisine