I first read this charming story to Lauren when she was just four years old. Terry and I had decided to homeschool her and I jumped right in with pre-school using Before Five in a Row, a literature based unit study. I had never read many of the books used in this program, so when we found Cranberry Thanksgiving at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, I was instantly taken with the sweet story and cute drawings. We made the reading of this story a tradition every Thanksgiving since then, checking it out of a library near us each year. I only recently was able to get my very own copy.
I have no idea why it took us so long, but this year, we actually made the cranberry bread that is the focal point of the story! The recipe is on the back of the book. I can only wonder if maybe I was intimidated at the idea of chopping cranberries? Or maybe I meant to do it, but the busyness of the holiday season caused me to forget? I don’t know, but I do know this: it’s never too late to start a new tradition! Lauren is a long way from four years old, but she enjoyed this tangy sweet bread along with the rest of us.
Matthew and I read this book a few nights ago, and I eyed the recipe anew. “I can do this.” I said. Matthew agreed and then proceeded to remind me every day. I added the ingredients to my list and took the plunge. Laci helped us, too.
Here’s the recipe. Of course, you can’t fully appreciate it unless you read the book, but you can always make the bread first. :)
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
3/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cups light raisins
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add egg, orange peel, and orange juice all at once; stir just until mixture is evenly moist. Fold in raisins and cranberries.
Spoon into greased 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan, cool on wire rack.
If you choose, you may substitute cranberries for the raisins to have an all cranberry bread.
I didn’t have a flour sifter, so I used a whisk to aerate the dry ingredients. I “sifted” the flour, measured it, then I measured out the other dry ingredients, sifted them, and stirred them all together with a whisk. I also didn’t use the orange peel. The main reason was that our store didn’t have oranges. I was going to use the peel from a tangerine, but I didn’t really have the right tool for grating it, so I omitted that altogether. I used fresh cranberries and regular raisins. It came out just fine, despite my modifications.
I hope you’ll be able to meet Maggie, Grandmother, Mr. Horace, and Mr. Whiskers – and enjoy some cranberry bread! – this Thanksgiving.