Cheddar cheese and cranberries may seem like an unusual combination for a quick bread, but they actually could not be more perfect together. This easy to make bread is simply amazing. Paring cranberries, orange, almond, and spices with the sharp flavor of cheddar cheese, this one is an absolute winner. The acid of the berry balances perfectly against the subtle, almost non-present taste of cheese, creating an unexplained rich taste. Moist and delicious, this cranberry-cheddar bread will intrigue even the most delicate palates with its complex flavors.
To prepare Cranberry-Cheddar Quick Bread:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- zest from one orange
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- juice from one orange plus water to make 3/4 cup
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese (6 ounces)
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1 ½ cups fresh cranberries
- ½ cup sliced almonds (optional but highly recommended)
Heat oven to 350 F. Prepare a loaf pan with grease or non-stick cooking spray (1 – 9” x 5” x 3” or 2 – 8” x 3” x 2” pans). Sift together dry ingredients, spices, and orange zest. Cut in shortening. Add water to juice if needed to measure ¾ cup. Add juice, cheese, and egg.
Mix to combine, do not overwork. Fold in cranberries and nuts. Batter will be thick.
Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 60 – 70 minutes or until bread springs back when lightly touched.
Test with a tooth pick or wooden skewer. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before turning bread out on to a wire rack to cool.
Wrap with plastic wrap when completely cool and allow to stand for at least 8 hours before icing and serving (this is important to allow the bread to completely develop and the cheese to work its magic). This bread also freezes extremely well, top with icing after thawing.
To prepare Almond Icing:
Cooks note: Almond works extremely well with cranberries as it does with cherries and also adds a delight touch. Icing this bread is completely optional.
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- water (about 2 teaspoon or just enough for proper consistency)
- 3 – 4 drops almond flavored oil or ½ teaspoon almond extract
Place sugar in a small mixing bowl and add water about a half of a teaspoon at a time to be sure not to make the icing too thin. Add the almond oil (if you are using extract be aware that it adds more liquid and adjust water accordingly). Let the icing stand for a few minutes and then stir again, adding small amount of water as needed.
Tip: If you have not used flavored oils before for baking, you should consider them. Available at cake supply stores or online, these oils bring amazing flavor to your cakes, cookies, and icing without adding the liquids of extracts. I have had wonderful results with LorAnne oils, and have found they are actually much less expensive to use than extracts.
Place the loaf on a wire rack over wax paper and drizzle the icing over the bread with a spoon or a piping bag. I use a water glass to hold my piping bag for filling. Cut the tip with scissors.
Allow the icing to dry for 3 – 4 hours before wrapping (I wrap the loaf with wax paper before placing in a bag to prevent the icing from sticking).