Health alert! This wonderful loaf is moistened with yoghurt, sweetened with honey and molasses, crunchy with walnuts, and has a whack of whole wheat goodness. Can you say, ‘yum’? Even better, this is the last recipe that I’ve been milking off of cooking Christmas in July, and is the result of one of my tips in the Art of Feast Cooking on how to use up ingredients that you have left over from a holiday meal. The ingredient? You guessed it—cranberry sauce!
Now, cranberry sauce doesn’t always need to be used up straight away. It doesn’t go off as quickly as other ingredients—if it’s in a jar and in the fridge, it can last several months after the fact (which is also why I got to doing this recipe only now). And whether you were using home made cranberry sauce or from a jar or can, it also freezes just fine, to be used for your next holiday meal. If you’ve already defrosted it once, though, it’s probably a good idea not to freeze & keep reusing it… you know, food safety and all that! So that’s where this recipe comes in.
This loaf reminded me a lot of one of my favourite muffin recipes, and its moist, dense interior is just so satisfying with a cup of tea or coffee in the morning. I was a bit surprised when I pulled it out of the oven to see how dark it was on the outside, and was thinking with a bit of dismay that I’d managed to burn the whole thing (and ruin my attempt at cleverly using up all our leftover ingredients). Fortunately, it was all a clever guise—once I cut into it to see that it was in fact done perfectly, I remembered that the more complex sugars (such as honey and molasses, which are used in this recipe), tend to darken much faster than normal white sugar. Think of it as a ‘caramelizing’! The edges of your loaf might look quite dark, but they will in fact taste just fine.
Alright, on with the show! See my notes at the bottom of the recipe for ingredient substitutions if need be.
Cranberry Nut Loaf
Based on the Cranberry Yogurt Nut Loaf recipe from Thrifty Fun
Cooking time: 1 hour
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup wheat germ *
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups yoghurt *
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 2 tbsp molasses or golden syrup
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup cranberry sauce *
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1/2 cup chopped dates, raisins / sultanas, or dried cranberries (optional, I didn’t use these)
Preheat your oven to 325 F / 150 C.
Blend together the dry ingredients—flours, wheat germ, baking soda and powder, and salt—together in one large bowl. Mix the wet ingredients together, all except for the lemon juice, cranberry sauce, and walnuts. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix just until combined, with no lumps. Add the teaspoon of lemon juice, then the walnuts, and stir just until combined again. Lastly, quickly fold through the cranberry sauce until spread through the mixture, but not completely dissolved—leave some chunks, these will taste better!
Pour batter into a greased 9″ /22 cm pan (square or round) and bake for 45-55 minutes, until the top has darkened and a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Alternately, divide batter into two loaf tins and bake for 25 minutes, though you should check these at 20 to see how they’re doing—they might need longer.
Enjoy for breakfasts, as a nice lunch treat, or a healthy snack!
* Note: I originally bought a bag of wheat germ to go in my granola / muesli recipe, and then was a bit puzzled as to what to do with the rest of it. I’ve since ferreted out a few recipes, and I think I’ll always have a bag of wheat germ on hand now—it’s a healthy way to get a bit of extra fibre into a recipe. Try the Roasted Walnut Balls, Blueberry Oat Muffins, and of course, the Granola. Whether you want to use more or less wheat germ, you can substitute it for whole wheat flour.
If you have more or less cranberry sauce, that’s not a problem! Simply substitute in more or less yoghurt for the amount of cranberry sauce you have.