I’ve partnered with Halos Mandarins to create this Cranberry Mandarin Orange Bread. Loaded with cranberries + mandarin oranges and topped with a graham cracker crumble, this tasty bread is perfect for the holidays!
I was tempted to call this post “Ode to December,” but that just didn’t do enough justice to this awesome Cranberry Mandarin Orange Bread. But, seriously, I think December might be my favorite month of the year. I love everything about the holidays. The hustle (and the bustle, too). The holiday decorations and lights everywhere. The music. Doesn’t it just seem like the world is a little more alive in December?
Speaking of decorations, we always decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. The leftovers have barely cooled before I’m ready to bring all of our decorations up from the basement. My wife was still half-way through her cup of coffee on the day after Thanksgiving, and I was already carrying huge bins of decorations upstairs. And of course, we had Celine Dion’s Christmas music playing. I’m not usually a huge fan of pop stars releasing Christmas albums, but Celine is different. I’m actually a little surprised that we haven’t worn out that CD since it pretty much stays on repeat for the entire month in our house.
Another holiday favorite around the Spiced house? Baking! I mean, I enjoy baking year-round, but I just kick it into extra high gear during the holidays. The latest creation is this incredibly tasty Cranberry Mandarin Orange Bread. The flavor of the tart cranberries balances quite well with the sweet mandarin oranges. I also topped the loaves with a brown sugar-graham cracker crumble for a little sweet addition. These mini-loves also make great neighbor and coworker gifts. My wife and I
devoured calmly nibbled on the first loaf, and we sent the other two into her coworkers with a little bow around each. I’m also thinking about making this bread again for either Christmas Eve or Christmas morning…it’s that good!
During the winter, we often keep a bowl of Halos mandarin oranges out on the countertop. My wife grabs one on the way to work, and I always eat one for lunch. (I sometimes grab another one as a quick mid-afternoon snack.) With all of the cookies and sweet treats decorating our kitchen at this time of the year, I try to keep lunches and snacks on the healthier side. Halos are perfect for that! Easy to peel, seedless and sweet…you couldn’t get much easier if you tried.
It should come as no surprise that I decided to use some of the Halos in a baking recipe. After all, if it’s in my kitchen and not tied down, then it has a very strong chance of ending up in some sort of holiday baking recipe. The mandarin oranges worked quite well in this quick bread recipe. I used the zest from several mandarins along with the fruit to add an extra boost of flavor to the bread. And that graham cracker topping? Delicious!
So what are favorite holiday baking recipes? Do you bake gifts for neighbors and friends? Do you have a special treat that you bake up for Santa? I’d love to hear about your December baking plans!