As last minute home-baked hostess gifts or a contribution to a holiday potluck, quick breads are a great thing to have in your kitchen repertoire. The one featured today upgrades the old familiar banana bread with the bright colors of cranberries. This recipe makes one full sized loaf or four small, "gift-sized" loaves and should be easily doubled. If your bananas threaten to over-ripen before you can get to them, mash them and freeze in cup-sized portions. Cranberries can also be frozen if purchased when they are at their seasonal price lows, so you could have all the ingredients for this recipe at your fingertips at any time. I've included methods for making this both with a processor and the old-fashioned mixing bowl way.
Cranberry Banana Bread
2 large or 3 medium very ripe bananas (about 1 cup)
1/3 c oil
3/4 c sugar
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
1 t soda
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 t cloves
1 c cranberries--fresh or frozen--about half a 12 oz bag
1/2 c chopped walnuts (optional)
1. Chop the cranberries coarsely in the processor and then return them to the measuring cup.
2. Put the bananas in the processor and process until they are well pureed.
3. Add the sugar, oil, egg, vanilla, and chopped cranberries to the processor bowl. Blend just until smooth.
4. Add the flour, soda, and spices. Pulse lightly until just mixed.
5. Add the cranberries and walnuts and pulse just once or twice, until the berries are blended evenily into the mix.
6. Pour the batter into well-oiled pans--four individual loaves or one 4 1/2 X 8 1/2 inch loaf.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes for the small loaves, an hour or so for the large loaf. The loaves are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
8. Allow the loaves to cool in the pans about 5 minutes. Then turn out on to a rack and cool completely before wrapping.
Mixing bowl method
1. Cream the sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla until light.
2. Mash the bananas (just mash them right in the measuring cup) and add to the creamed mixture. Stir until well mixed.
3. Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the banana mixture. Stir well.
4. Cut the cranberries in slices (the "prettier" approach) or chop coarsely. Stir into the batter along with the chopped nuts.
5. When the batter is well mixed, pour into the pans, proceeding as with the processor method from step 6 forward.