The holiday is less than one week away! Are you just as excited as I am? Well I can’t wait for Christmas to get here. I just love the holiday and hanging out with family and friends. It is the time for shared recipes, food, fun, games, and of course gifts. So I’m sharing some holiday favorites to share with others this season.
Food is an important part of the holiday. It is something that can be shared and provides comfort to all. Drink is just as important and fun to share. I love cranberries and being the ingredient of the holiday season, it’s readily available to put in everything. This Orange Cranberry Bread recipe from Two Peas and their Pod is one that is worth trying and definitely good for sharing.
Orange Cranberry Bread
For the bread:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose Gold Medal flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 large orange
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh cranberries
For the orange glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. In a small bowl, combine sugar and orange zest. Rub together with your fingers until fragrant. Whisk into the flour mixture. Set aside.
3. In a separate medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, orange juice, and vanilla.
4. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Fold in the cranberries. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
5. Bake for 70-75 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. If your loaf starts to get too brown drape a piece of foil over the top to finish baking. I did this during the last 10 minutes of the baking time.
6. Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes. Loosen the sides of the bread with a knife. Carefully remove loaf from pan. Let cool completely on wire rack.
7. While the bread is cooling, make the orange glaze. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, orange juice, and orange zest. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the bread. Cut and serve.
*Note-store the bread, wrapped, on the counter for 2-3 days.
yield: 1 loaf prep time: 20 minutes cook time: 70-75 minutes total time: 95 minutes
When I worked at Williams-Sonoma during the holidays, my favorite thing was walking in the store to the smell of mulling spices. We would make it in the store every morning and it would drift through the halls of the mall and draw in a lot of our customers. Even to simply ask what that smell was. The recipe is pretty simple. You can add wine to make things more festive.
12 whole cloves
2 nutmegs, cracked into pieces with a hammer
2 bottles (each 750ml) dry red wine
1/2 cup sugar
Stripped zest from 2 oranges and 2 lemons, plus more zest for garnish
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cinnamon sticks
Tie the cloves and nutmeg pieces in a small square of cheesecloth, or put them in a large metal tea ball.
In a large non-aluminum pot, combine the wine, sugar, orange and lemon zests, orange and lemon juices, and cinnamon sticks. Add the clove-and-nutmeg bundle. Heat over medium-low heat until steam begins to rise from the pot and the mixture is hot, about 10 minutes; do not let it boil. Remove the clove-and-nutmeg bundle. Keep the wine warm over very low heat until ready to serve.
Ladle the wine into cups or heatproof glasses, garnish with the citrus zest and serve warm. Serves 8 to 10.
*Note: Try Williams-Sonoma Mulling Spices to make things a little simpler. You can take out the wine for a non-alcoholic version and substitute it for apple cider, which is what we used in the store.
Another drink of the season is hot cocoa. Whether plain or with specialty toppings, it is sure to warm the soul and make things more cozy. Add these cute mini marshmallows to make your cup a little more festive and fun!
Try this mint hot chocolate recipe.
Mint Hot Chocolate
1/4 cup chilled heavy cream
4 Tbs. sugar
3 Tbs. Dutch process cocoa powder
4 cups milk
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped, plus 1/2
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
In a bowl, beat the cream and 1 Tbs. of the sugar until soft peaks form. Cover the whipped cream and refrigerate until ready to serve.
In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the remaining 3 Tbs. sugar and the cocoa. Gradually whisk in the milk. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer, whisking frequently. Add the chopped chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Stir in the peppermint extract.
Divide the hot chocolate among warmed mugs. Top each with a dollop of the whipped cream. Sprinkle with the shaved chocolate and serve immediately.