Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bouncy Berries

This summer, I fell in love again with local berries. Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries .. I was sad to see them go when the chilly weather set in. But with the crisp weather, chilly wind, changing leaves and starting of school came a different berry, one that I had never played with before: the cranberry. Don't get me wrong; I love dried cranberries, especially in muffins and granola. But I had never cooked or baked with fresh cranberries before .. until now.

They are so cute! And they bounce and float in water! I had a blast this past weekend, making Anna Olson's cranberry vinaigrette which I used to dress a fall salad of wild rice with roasted squash and fennel, and also her cranberry apple crisp, which was the perfect dessert to bring to a mid-week family gather. The cranberries have this wonderful, tangy tart flavour that brings out the best in the apples, and gives salad dressings a whole new meaning for me. But while these recipes were a smashing hit, yesterday, I was more in the mood for a loaf-type treat, or something more muffiny and wholesome. Surrounded by loaves and quick breads in the blogging world, I took that as inspiration and made this Wholesome Cranberry Oatmeal Loaf. Totally, healthy, very berry-licious and quick to make for guilt-free week night treat that went perfect with a cup of tea. The texture is light despite the oatmeal with a very moist-but-not-dense crumb. It's not too sweet, and just tart enough to keep my taste buds awake.

This recipe makes one little loaf, which was more than enough for me and my love to snack on while watching CSI New York off the internet. But I'm betting that it could easily be doubled, and would also work great as muffins. You could also add orange zest which would probably go great with the cranberries, or some wheat bran if you're feeling extra healthy .. even some grated apple and flaked almonds would be awesome. Go play with cranberries! I dare you!

Wholesome Cranberry Oatmeal Loaf

2 tablespoons of canola oil
1 tablespoon of honey
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 egg
6 tablespoons of skim milk yogurt
2 tablespoons of fruit juice (I used Ceres Young Berry juice)
splash of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 cup of whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of cardamom
1/4 cup of rolled oats
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 cup of fresh cranberries

1. Whisk the oil, honey, brown sugar, egg, yogurt, juice and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended.

2. Sift in the the flours, spices, baking soda and baking powder and stir to combine. Add the oats and cranberries and stir.

3. Pour the batter into a small loaf pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the top gets nice and golden and a cake tester inserted comes out clean.

4. Enjoy with a cup of tea (coco rooibos chai would be lovely if you're so lucky ..)

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