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.
Cranberry Mandarin Orange Bread
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!
Did you bake some loaves of this Cranberry Mandarin Orange Bread at home? Leave a comment! Or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog)!
Cranberry Mandarin Orange Bread
For the Cranberry Mandarin Orange Bread
- 1 7/8 cups all-purpose flour divided
- 1¼ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 1½ tsp mandarin orange zest ~3 mandarin oranges
- 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- ¾ cup cranberries coarsely chopped
- 3 mandarin oranges peeled and coarsely chopped
For the Topping
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter cold
- 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs ~2 full-sized crackers
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- Grease and flour 3 mini-loaf pans (or 1 large loaf pan); set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a medium bowl, combine the 1¾ cups of flour with the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange zest. Stir until well mixed; set aside.
- Using a countertop mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes on medium speed).
- Add eggs and vanilla; mix on low speed until well combined.
- Add buttermilk; mix on low speed until well combined. (Tip: Don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl.)
- Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until a smooth batter forms.
- In a small bowl, toss the chopped cranberries and mandarin oranges with the remaining 2 Tbsp of flour. Gently fold the chopped fruit into the batter.
- Divide the batter evenly into the 3 mini-loaf pans.
- Make the Topping by cutting the butter into ¼” cubes. Place cubed butter in a bowl with the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir until well combined.
- Sprinkle the Topping evenly over the 3 mini-loaf pans.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out mostly clean. (Note: If you are making this bread in a single loaf pan, it will take longer to bake.)
- Let bread cool in pans for 20 minutes before removing.
Looking for more tasty quick bread recipes? Check out these other favorites, too: