Cinnamon Cranberry Chai Zucchini Bread
Adapted from Simple Bites’ Best Zucchini Bread Ever
When is the season where cinnamon and cranberries and hot chai intersect with zucchini? Sadly, I know, it doesn’t exist … these things never coincide. Cinnamon, perhaps, because cinnamon is an all-season sort of spice (but especially beloved in the fall) and chai too is welcomed in autumn/late summer, but cranberries are more of a “winter” berry and they definitely never ever happen at the same time as late-summer zucchini. But dried cranberries can be had year round, and even fresh cranberries can be frozen until zucchini season, so why not let zucchini and cranberries collide and intermingle?
I used dried cranberries in this bread, though I did have some fresh frozen cranberries hiding in my freezer that I was very tempted to toss in. I do sort of wish that I had. When I first tasted the bread, I thought it was a little too sweet. A bit more tart fruity cranberry flavor would have been nice. But then the second time I tried the bread, I decided it was perfect. Perhaps my taste buds were just off one of those days or my mood was just wanting extra sweetness the second day. If you have some frozen cranberries on hand and you feel the urge gnawing at you to toss them into the bread, I would totally encourage you to try it.
For the chai flavor in this bread, I used a double spice chai from Celebration Herbals that is actually ALL spices (no tea). I especially love this chai and was a little reticent to part with one of the tea bags, but in the end, decided it was worth it. You can use any chai tea bag (as long as the contents are fairly well ground). Simply cut the tea bag open and dump the lovely spiced tea into the bread.
This recipe makes 2 loaves … one to eat, one to share. I shared both loaves actually: the first with my coworkers and the second with my parents. Everyone agreed it’s delicious … and amazingly, it tastes like it has lots of oil in it, but it doesn’t. That is the magic of the zucchini and the yogurt at work; they add richness of taste without a lot of calories. I also used mostly whole wheat flour for fiber–if you want extra fiber (which is great for digestive health), substitute some flax meal (ground flax) for part of the flour.
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup Winter Jack apple whiskey liqueur
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup oil (olive, coconut, or canola)
- 3/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 3/4 - 1 cup Turbinado (raw) sugar (or brown sugar, firmly packed)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups finely grated zucchini
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 chai tea bag, cut open
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray two loaf pans with cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, toss together the dried cranberries with the apple liqueur. Let the cranberries bathe in the liqueur, tossing occasionally to give them all a chance in the "bath".
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together all the wet ingredients until well mixed. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over top and stir to mix them in well. This mixture should form a nice batter. Fold in the cranberries with any liqueur left in the bowl.
- Divide the batter amongst the two loaf pans. Sprinkle the top of the loaves with some extra chopped walnuts and a bit of coarse raw (turbinado) sugar. Bake at 350 F. for at least 50 minutes or longer, until a wooden pick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and release the loaves from their baking pans, setting on a rack to cool. Slice and enjoy!
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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