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Pumpkin Cranberry Quick Bread

Makes 2 medium-sized loaves, 12 to 14 slices each.

Ingredients:

4 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 15-ounce can pumpkin (not seasoned pumpkin pie filling)
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups nonfat or low-fat plain (unsweetened) yogurt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup canola oil, corn oil or other flavorless vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh gingerroot, optional
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) cranberries, chopped moderately fine
2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar combined with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon for garnish

Instructions:

Place a rack in the middle third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Generously coat 2 8- by 4-inch (or slightly larger) loaf pans with nonstick spray.

In a very large bowl, thoroughly stir together the flour, cinnamon, allspice, Clabber Girl Baking Powder, baking soda, and salt. In medium bowl using a fork, beat together the pumpkin, sugar, yogurt, eggs, oil, and dried cranberries until very well blended. Gently stir the yogurt mixture and fresh cranberries into the flour mixture just until thoroughly incorporated but not over-mixed; excess mixing can cause toughening. Immediately turn out the batter into the pans, dividing equally and spreading evenly to the edges. Sprinkle the sugar-cinnamon mixture over the loaves, dividing equally.

Bake on the middle oven rack for 50 to 65 minutes or until well browned on top and a toothpick inserted deep in a center comes out clean. It's normal for the tops to crack. If the tops begin to brown too rapidly, lower the heat to 350 degrees F. and cover them with foil the last few minutes of baking.

Let the pans stand on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a table knife around the pans and under the loaf edge to loosen the loaves. Keep airtight at room temperature for up to 2 days; or freeze packed airtight in heavy plastic bags for up to 1 month.

*Recipe by Nancy Baggett - "Pumpkin and Cranberry Quick Bread—History to Savor in Every Bite" October, 2006

Comments:

This is a hearty, moist, well-flavored quick bread that's also very easy to make. Not too sweet nor overly rich, it makes a wholesome snack, or can accompany coffee or tea or almost any autumn meal. The recipe yields two substantial loaves, which is a good thing since the first usually disappears right away!

Tip: If you have fresh gingerroot on hand it will add a nice kick and extra aroma, but the bread is delicious without it.