Friday, November 16, 2012

A Cranberry Thanksgiving Day or How To Get the Kids Involved in Thanksgiving!

"Get Mother to help."
 As my family well knows, there comes a day in November (December is just too late) when I do nothing but bake cranberry bread.  We have it for Thanksgiving morning breakfast, take a loaf or two to friends, and then have one squirreled away in the freezer for Christmas morning as well.   I make a fun production out of the day (no other activities, favorite music on, microwaved lunch) and have nearly an assembly line in the kitchen so that loaf after loaf is mixed individually and baked on the center rack.  It does require a number of pans, but I'm good at finding extras at Good Will or splurging on a great pan with a Williams-Sonoma gift card.  I also bake this bread in coffee cups
for large size muffins or in tiny pans as little gifts for special folks.

Apilco (French porcelain)--all their tableware is oven-safe.

 Here's what the production line entails:

Grease and flour all the pans

Finely chop all of the cranberries (fresh or frozen) at once by hand or in food processor.  Then:  clean the food processor or board well; the red will color the bread you'll mix or stain the board.

Peel the oranges and chop finely all of the peel in the food processor or by hand on the board.
Of course you can grate it using a rasp or metal grater, but I think it's too fine that way.  

Set your system for GO!  Everything you need is out.  (Mise en place)

about the recipe

The recipe is based on one from CRANBERRY THANKSGIVING by Wendy and Harry Devlin.   Reading this book and making the bread is a fun, yearly Thanksgiving activity.....

to which children love becoming addicted. (Also adults like me.  My kids are long gone and you see what I'm up to.) The story involves a fabulous cranberry bread recipe, for years kept secret, and an unscrupulous special someone who appears to want to steal it.  Of course, all's well that ends well, and the Devlins went on to write all kinds of other books about cranberries....  The book itself is again available (was out of print), but I found a couple of first edition copies at the Good Will this fall for $1.99.  I can't locate it as an ebook; maybe you can.  The library will definitely have copies, but check yours out early and write down the recipe!

Here's the original recipe along with the Devlins' Blueberry Pancake Recipe.

While I occasionally make a loaf with or without nuts, add a few tiny chocolate chips, or combine the recipe with one for bananas or apples, generally I make this bread with just cranberries.

The other day when I was buying the ingredients, the clerk asked if I was making cranberry bread--to which I replied a large, strong, hefty, happy, YES!  She wanted my recipe and today I took it up to the market and left it in an envelope with her name on it:

...  ...  .... ...  ... .. .. ..... ...... ....... ..... ............

Happy Thanksgiving to Jane 
From Alyce Morgan ( my food blog)

I will probably post the Cranberry Bread sometime soon, but just in case I don’t-- here’s the recipe, which is based on the bread in Harry and Wendy Devlin’s book CRANBERRY THANKSGIVING-a fun Thanksgiving children’s book.           Enjoy!

Cranberry Bread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.   Grease well and flour one 9x5 loaf pan.
In a large bowl, mix together:
·       2 cups unbleached white flour
·       1 cup white sugar
·       1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
·       ½ teaspoon baking soda
·       1 teaspoon salt
Cut into the flour mixture, using a pastry cutter, two knives, or even your fingers,*
·       ¼ cup (half-stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces

                                         In a separate small bowl, beat together well:
·       ¾ cup orange juice
·       1 egg
·       1 tablespoon grated orange peel

Pour orange juice mixture into the flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Do not over mix.  Gently stir into the batter:
·       1 ½ cups finely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
·       ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts, optional
Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake about 70 minutes or until a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes in the pan before removing from pan.  Cool completely on rack before cutting. (Wrap well in aluminum foil to freeze up to 1 month.)   (Makes good muffins—bake @ 400 F 15-20 minutes.) 
*Can use food processor, but mix cranberries/nuts in by hand.  

Involving the Kids:  Just do it! Don't worry about the mess or how much time it takes.   Just do it!

 Little ones are great at collecting ingredients, greasing and flouring pans, measuring, mixing, and checking to see if the bread is done.  Do the chopping yourself (if you're doing it by hand) unless your older child already has good knife skills.  Cranberries are not easy to chop--they keep rolling around,  though the job isn't terribly time consuming.  If you have a food processor or manual chopper, this is the time to use it.

If you'd like to teach "Over the River and Through the Woods," let them watch this youtube video.

Sing a new song; make lots of cranberry bread,


  1. Thanks for posting this recipe. You just reminded me that I need to buy extra cranberries to make cranberry bread. It wouldn't be a holiday season without it.

  2. @Mireya: I love cranberry bread in any form. Have fun!

  3. I just put this bread in the oven! I hope it turns out well! Love,


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