I don’t know about you, but cold weather and I just don’t mix. All I want to do when the temperature dips below 40 degrees is grab a blanket, a book, and curl up in front of our fireplace. Seriously, I don’t want to clean the house, I don’t want to go shopping … I don’t want to do anything.
But, even though the temperature was in the low 20′s when I left for work this morning, I was able to muster up enough strength to write you this blog post … yay, something accomplished! And something tasty indeed!
A few years ago, my family decided to go the homemade gift route … homemade sweets, baked goods, crafts … anything as long as it’s homemade. This year I decided to make two pretty rich chocolate treats (recipes coming soon!) for everyone, and since I didn’t want to throw “healthy” completely out the window, I decided to make a fairly healthful quick bread for them too.
Enter my cranberry, pecan, and olive oil quick bread. I’ve long been a fan of using olive oil in baked goods — and not just in focaccia or pizza dough — but in cakes, cookies, and brownies too. In fact, I typically replace the vegetable or canola oil called for in recipes with olive oil … and you can too.
The most important thing to remember is that olive oil tends to have a stronger flavor than most other vegetable oils so you want make sure the other ingredients in your recipe don’t get put on the back burner. I’ve found that olive oil goes really well with fruity flavors so it’s a great choice for recipes that feature citrus or fresh berries. Or you could just use a late harvest extra-virgin olive oil; these tend to have a more subtle flavor profile that won’t compete with the other ingredients in your recipe.
And ultimately, if you’re not sure about switching to olive oil completely, go the 50/50 route … substitute half of the oil called for in a recipe with olive oil … I think you’ll be surprised with the results!
Cranberry, Pecan, and Olive Oil Quick Bread
Adapted from California Olive Ranch
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 12 fresh cranberries, for topping
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush four miniature loaf pans with a little olive oil. Set aside on a baking sheet.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, the whole wheat flour, and the baking powder. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, the sugar, and the eggs. Add the vanilla extract, and stir to incorporate.
4. Add the reserved dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir just enough to blend together, but not enough to produce a smooth batter.
5. Gently fold in the 1/2 cup fresh cranberries and the pecans.
6. Divide the batter evenly among the loaf pans, then top each with four whole cranberries. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.