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Christmas Brunch: Cranberry Poppy Seed Loaf

Here's a moist, yummy quick bread that makes a nice addition to your holiday brunch table. Make it a day ahead, and when ready to serve, cut into slices and arrange on a pretty platter.

I cut this recipe out of a magazine several years ago. The finished loaf can be iced with a powdered sugar glaze, if you like. The bread is delicious with or without icing. If made ahead, wrap tightly in plastic and store at room temperature until you're ready to glaze it and/or slice it.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 to 60 minutes
Yield: about 12 slices

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp grated lemon peel
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed, drained, and coarsely chopped
Lemon Glaze, below (optional)

Spray an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, poppy seeds, and baking powder. In a medium bowl, mix milk, butter, egg, vanilla, and lemon peel. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture and stir until just moistened. Stir in cranberries. Spoon batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert the loaf out of the pan. Continue to cool until room temperature. If making ahead, wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 1 day.

To serve, drizzle with Lemon Glaze, if desired. Slice into pieces and arrange on a platter.

Lemon Glaze
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Combine sugar with enough lemon juice to reach drizzling consistency. Spoon over cooled bread when ready to serve.



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