Sunday, January 22, 2012

Yummy Cranberry-Walnut Bread

My good friend Kelly introduced me to this fantastic find.  It's a super-tasty, tangy, not-too-sweet bread and I LOVE it.  If you're like me and you keep a list of things you look forward to each winter, this bread makes a great addition.

One of the best things about this recipe is that it's heart-healthy without even trying.  The recipe as written is already super low-fat. 

It calls for just 2 tbsp of oil and the rest of the moisture - and it's a very moist bread - is orange juice.  Do you still have to worry about fat in canola/veggie oils and olive oil?  YES, sort of.  Both do have some saturated fat, even though they're not butter.  Compare:

  • 1 tbsp Canola Oil = 1 g
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil = 2 g
  • 1 tbsp I Can't Believe It's Not Butter = 3.5 g
  • 1 tbsp Smart Balance = 5 g
  • 1 tbsp Butter = 7 g

Since a lot of quick breads call for at least 1/3 cup oil, this recipe is about as low-fat as it gets.

Also, this recipe calls for walnuts.  Walnuts have heart benefits, as is best explained in Cholesterol Down (Chapter 5).  Basically, almonds and other tree nuts carry the same "good fats" found in Olive Oil, and a handful of such nuts every day is one of the "10 Simple Steps" to lower your cholesterol found in Cholesterol Down (I cannot say enough good things about that book - read the Amazon reviews if you don't believe me).

AND although the science is less clear, cranberries are probably another bonus.  They're packed with antioxidants which is a good thing for heart health according to The Everything Low-Cholesterol Cookbook.  Plus, they *might* help raise your HDL and lower your LDL (like a Statin).

Finally, we added 1/2 cup of Benefiber to the batter and there was NO TASTE DIFFERENCE (***Note:  you might want to start with 1/4 cup if you don't usually consume a lot of fiber).  Benefiber truly is tasteless, oderless, and textureless.  I'm not sure how they ever created it but it's a godsend for those trying to lower cholesterol through diet.  Just one teaspoon of Benefiber has 3 g of soluble fiber (the amount in a serving of oatmeal)!  That means that the 1/2 cup in this recipe has 144 grams of soluble fiber.  And that, my friends, means that each slice of your cranberry bread will have TWELVE GRAMS of soluble fiber.  That's like eating 4 bowls of oatmeal in one slice of bread... rock on!!!
Adding the Benefiber.
So here's the recipe, tweaked from "Cranberry Nut Bread I" on Allrecipes:


  • 2 cups flour (I used 1 cup all-purpose, 1 cup whole wheat)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar (add another 1/4-1/2 cup if you like a sweeter bread)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • at least 1 cup whole cranberries, fresh or frozen (I use 2 cups; I like it tangy)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (worth investing in a microplane if you don't already have one)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup Benefiber (optional)
  • A bit of cinnamon and sugar, stirred together (maybe 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tbsp cinnamon?)


  1. Preheat oven to 335 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and "sugar" a 9x5 inch loaf pan.  By "sugaring" the pan I mean mix together some sugar and cinnamon and coat the greased pan with the mixture - just pour it in and tilt all ways so it coats.  This will give the edges of your bread a sweet crunch.  If you have any left over, feel free to sprinkle it on top of the bread before baking.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl and stir together (a whisk works great). Add the cranberries and walnuts, and stir to coat with flour.  In a separate bowl, mix together the egg, oil, orange juice, Benefiber (if you're adding it) and orange zest. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture, and stir until just blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.  Batter will be thick so don't pour it all in at once - really spoon it.
  3. Bake for 50 minutes in the preheated oven.  Without opening oven, turn oven off and leave in fort another 10 minutes.  Check the bread by applying slight pressure to the top - if it sinks in a little it's not yet done; in that case put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes while the oven preheats and sits at 300 degrees.  The recipe itself calls for baking 50 minutes at 350 degrees but I found when I did this that the edges were overdone and the middle wasn't quite cooked.

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