Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hazelnut/Pecan and Cranberry Bread

This Thanksgiving was pretty low key for us - only 8 gathered around the table.  While my brother did not make it up for the holiday (paying his dues so he gets Christmas through New Year's off), we were joined by my cousin and her family from Minnesota!  They unfortunately cannot make it to the wedding, but generously offered to come out to Boston for a visit - I mean, they had to meet Nick!  With only 8, my mom had the majority of dinner under control, but still wanting to contribute something to the meal I volunteered myself for the breads.  I figured the possibilities were endless!

Cranberry Hazelnut and Pecan Bread
I remembered a bread recipe that sounded delicious I had seen somewhere with hazelnuts and cranberries.  Knowing we had a bunch of frozen cranberries from our CSA and a bunch of hazelnuts on hand, I was on a mission to find the recipe.  Luckily Nick came to the rescue and did a quick online search and found the recipe on Real Simple's website.

The Ingredients
The Necessities...(adapted from Real Simple)

  • 1 cup 
  • hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberries

To begin, I spread the hazelnuts out on a baking sheet.  Only at this point did I realize I did not in fact have the cup on hand that I thought I had.  So off to the store I went.  However, it turns out there was a run on hazelnuts and neither Savenor's nor the Charles Street Market had any left, and since there's no true substitute for hazelnuts, I decided to buy some pecans to add to the bread instead.  To prepare the nuts, I let them roast in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Once fragrant, I then removed the skins from the nuts (a little harder than I thought!) and coarsely chopped them up.

Meanwhile, I combined the dry ingredients and set aside for later.  In a separate bowl, I whisked together the melted butter, eggs, vanilla and milk.

Wet Ingredients
Once all whisked together, I slowly added the dry ingredients into the wet.

Adding the dry...
All Combined
At this point the batter was all ready, so I folded in the cranberries, which had thawed out nicely...

as well as the chopped hazelnut and pecan combination.

get folding...
I gently combined all the ingredients so the cranberries and the nuts were evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Finished Batter
I then poured the batter into a greased bread pan and put it in a 350 degree oven for about 55 minutes until the toothpick came out clean.  To sweeten it up a bit I sprinkled the top with some white sugar, which created a great crust to the bread.

Ready for the Oven
This bread was really easy to put together (once I had the nuts!) and was something I could do ahead of time.  I merely wrapped it up tightly in Saran wrap after it completely cooled.  We sliced and served this bread during appetizers and it provided the perfect transition from breakfast treats into the Thanksgiving feast we were looking forward to!  The combination of the crunch of the nuts and the tartness of the cranberries was delicious and offset the sweetness of the bread perfectly.

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  1. Yum, what a festive bread! This would make a great Christmas breakfast!

  2. I'm suddenly seeing all these great cranberry recipes just after I put a bunch of cranberries in the freezer. Perfect timing. The bread looks awesome! I might add some orange zest to it.

  3. This sounds absolutely delightful.

  4. sounds like a nice addition to thanksgiving!

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