I am always on the lookout for a great quick bread, something with fairly common ingredients, not hard to put together, but tastes great. With the cranberries, it also gives not only a sweet tang, but a festive look for the holidays.
I tinkered with this recipe, it having come originally from a paperback cookbook, for example using sour cream instead of heavily sweetened commercial yogurt. It really improved the texture, as sour cream always seems to do, and the sweetened cranberries give you plenty of sweetness. The standard 14% fat sour cream works well in baking, and is recommended. Ok, yes, it is slightly decadent too. I also used the blueberry flavoured dried cranberries, being all what was on hand at the time, but it turned out delicious.You can use them interchangeably most of the time. These are actually sweeter than the plain cranberries. One other noteworthy addition to this recipe is the use of homemade Plum Butter or Plum Puree, which adds further richness and moistness.Yum!
• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
• 1 tbsp. baking powder
• 1 tso. baking soda
• 3/4 tsp. salt
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/4 cup plum puree or store bought equivalent, see recipe below
• 2 tbsp butter, cold
• 1 cup or 8 oz sour cream
• 1 tbsp. granulated sugar for dusting
• 1/3 cup blueberries
• 1/3 cup cranberries
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Spray a baking sheet with vegetable cooking oil.
3. In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
4. Cut in plum puree and butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
5. Mix in sour cream and cranberries & blueberries just until blended, do not over mix, or they will be tough.
6. On floured surface, pat dough out to about one inch thickness.
7. Cut with a 2 1/2 inch round cutter. Re-roll scraps, gently as possible. Arrange on baking sheet, 2 inches apart.
8. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.
9. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and spring back when touched. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes about 10.
Plum Butter or Plum Puree
Combine 1 1/2 cups dried plums and 1/4 to 1/3 cup hot water in the container of a food processor or blender. Pulse on and off until all is finely chopped and smooth, like a paste. Store leftovers in covered container in fridge for up to 2 months or freeze. There was enough leftover to make at least 2 more batches of scones. Makes one cup.
Note: Even though the dried plums I used were soft, the food processor didn’t like them and made a mess. (Food processors tend to not like rubbery items like dried plums and fruits, or cheese.) So what I did was put them in a glass bowl, added a little more water, and microwaved them in 30 second bursts until hot. Then I just let them sit for a while, stirring occasionally, until they became very soft, almost mushy. Then you can carry on as usual.
References: Editors of Favourite Brand Name Recipes. Best Recipes: Old-Fahsioned Holidays. Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International Ltd., 2002.
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