When Life Gives You Cranberries, Make Cranberry Walnut Bread

Here’s a familiar story in my house:  As the holiday cooking season nears, cranberries go on sale. When I see what a great price they are, I decide to stock up on them. I always use a couple bags to make my mom’s cranberry orange relish, but what to do with the rest? I usually wind up freezing them to use later.

But I can never figure out what to make with them, and before I get around to using any of them, they go on sale again. So I buy more. And take them home. And put them in the freezer for later. I estimate that it will be about two more years before I need another freezer.

In the meantime, I resolved to actually use some of the extra cranberries this year. And what better way to start than good, old-fashioned cranberry walnut bread?

Cranberry Walnut Bread


  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • grated peel from one orange
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups orange juice
  • 1 12-ounce bag cranberries, chopped (see Note below)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9×5-inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add orange peel, shortening, eggs, and orange juice and mix well with a dough whisk. Stir in cranberries and walnuts.
  4. Divide dough evenly between loaf pans. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and internal temperature reaches 185-190 degrees.
  5. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and finish cooling on rack.

Note:  It is easiest to chop cranberries in the food processor. If you try to chop them with a knife, you’ll end up with as many cranberries on the floor as on your cutting board. Be careful not to over-process, however. Four or five pulses should be sufficient.

So, there you have it. My first attempt to use up the world’s largest store of cranberries outside of Cape Cod. Oh, and in case you’re interested, my mom’s cranberry relish is really simple:  for every bag of cranberries, use one whole orange (peel and all) and a scant cup of sugar. Chop the cranberries and orange in the food processor or food grinder. Add sugar to taste and stir until the sugar dissolves. This cranberry relish will keep in the fridge for a long time, so make lots of it.

Oh, and if all else fails, I found one more use for cranberries. Bailey loves them.

When life gives you cranberries, eat 'em.



  1. January 31, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Bailey will eat ANYTHING!

    • gaaarp said,

      January 31, 2010 at 1:45 pm

      You’re right about that, Cindy! It keeps us on our toes; kind of like having a toddler around again! Fortunately (for us and him), other than the curtain incident and the occasional tissue from the trash can, he mostly tries to find things to eat, not just to chew up and spread all over the floor.

      We caged him for the first time yesterday, as it was just too cold to take him along in the van like we usually do. He did great while we were gone. And no surprises when we got home!

  2. TheBellyBionic said,

    December 11, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    I accidentally dropped a bunch of frozen cranberries on the kitchen floor on Thanksgiving (those darn bags can be hard to open!). My dog, Angus, kept making faces like they were the most disgusting thing he’d ever tasted. He’d pick one up, bite into it, drop it on the floor, pick it up again, drop it again, making faces the whole time. But he ate every last one. Would not leave the kitchen until he got them all. *That* is a food-motivated dog.

  3. Angela said,

    November 29, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Hello – the cranberry bread looks awesome!

    I’m in the BAA with you – One question off the subject – I’m following your instructions on making the sourdough starter – your step by step at https://gaaarp.wordpress.com/2009/05/20/sourdough-101-a-tutorial/

    I’m on day two – is it ok to just add the flour & water right to the bowl where my starter is already? Or should I take it out & mix it in another bowl & then place it back into the bowl its “growing” in?


    • gaaarp said,

      November 29, 2009 at 6:39 pm



      Yes, you can just add your flour and water directly to the bowl with your starter. In fact, I mix and store my starter in the same container all the time. I used disposable deli-type containers, and about once every few months, I switch to a new container and throw out the old one.


    • Angela said,

      December 6, 2009 at 12:26 am

      Hello again –

      Its been 3 days since I’ve added the ingredients for the day 4 starter…last night I even added 1 tbsp of rye flour to “goose it” as you mention …nothing..nada…no rise at all..

      Does it really take a few days to get to the “day 5” addition? This is my first starter ever..so I’m unaware of anything!


      • gaaarp said,

        December 6, 2009 at 12:38 am


        Stick with it. As I say in the blog, your starter can’t read and doesn’t know how it’s supposed to act. Just keep following the tutorial; it will work out.

        If your kitchen is chilly, it will slow things down, rye or not rye.

      • angela said,

        December 6, 2009 at 11:17 am

        Thanks for the vote of confidence! The kitchen is chilly…so maybe thats the reason…

        I’ll keep you updated!
        Thanks again!

      • Angela said,

        December 8, 2009 at 12:36 am

        Well – I am the proud parent of a moldy Day 4 starter (that is actually 8 days+ old) =(…

        Should I scrap the entire thing or just scrape the little festering “fuzzy” mold that has started to grow on top?

        start over?

      • gaaarp said,

        December 8, 2009 at 7:39 pm

        Mold is bad. If it is moldy, throw it out and start over. Try keeping it a bit warmer, and maybe use a bit more rye flour. You can always add a tablespoon or two of rye, even when you are primarily feeding your starter with wheat flour.

      • angela said,

        December 8, 2009 at 11:21 pm

        Ok…thanks so much for the input! I really appreciate it! You have made the entire process so much more “user friendly” & I am happy that you are baking along with the rest of us in the BBA Challenge!

        =) Angela

  4. J Blevins said,

    November 27, 2009 at 10:08 am

    Looks really good I’ll try it next week.

    Can I ask why there are Chestnuts in the photo?

    • gaaarp said,

      November 27, 2009 at 4:37 pm

      I happened to have a bowl of chestnuts on the table, and I thought they added to the Autumnal essence of the photo!

  5. November 26, 2009 at 12:32 am

    What a beautiful loaf! Cranberry bread is one of my very favorite parts of winter. I always cut my cranberries in half by hand, one by one. A real pain, but I love how they look.

    • CindyL said,

      December 26, 2009 at 10:22 pm

      I also cut my cranberries in half by hand. The processor doesn’t get them consistently the right size – many almost whole and many very small. I like to know I bit into a cranberry when I bite into a cranberry! This was one of the first arguments my husband and I ever had. He couldn’t believe I was doing something by hand that a machine could do more quickly!

      • gaaarp said,

        December 27, 2009 at 2:38 pm

        It’s easy to overprocess cranberries in the food processor. I pulse them very sparingly, and I’ve been pleased with the results. I’m with your husband: there’s no way you would find me cutting cranberries in half one at a time!

  6. Di said,

    November 26, 2009 at 12:22 am

    Looks good! I was making cookies earlier this evening that called for chopped cranberries. I didn’t want to dirty my food processor, so I chopped the cranberries by hand. Not the best idea I’ve ever had. =) It wouldn’t be so bad if those little guys weren’t so bouncy…

    • gaaarp said,

      November 26, 2009 at 12:31 am

      How do you think I found out the dog liked cranberries?!? I thought I picked them all up, but he kept fining them!

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