Cranberry Bread Without Sugar?

This is not a recipe. It is a story of a recipe that does taste very different if you forget to put in the sugar, but the result is still edible!

I have made the Cranberry Orange Bread from the 1968 Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook (snag this one if you see it in a yard sale!) many times. I’ve often made it with just 1/2 cup of sugar instead of 3/4, but I never left out all the sugar before! It was an accident. And I had made three loaves. And I served some to a guest before I had tried any myself. Ack!

But he liked it. Daniel also liked it but noticed it tasted different. Only six-year-old Nicholas did not like it enough to eat it, and it took him a few bites to decide. I knew after my first bite what had happened . . . but the answer was obvious: If it’s not sweet enough for you, put some honey on it. Easy and delicious!

We were eating it for dessert, so we did want it to be sweet. In other bread roles–like a sandwich or a side dish for chili–unsweetened cranberry orange bread may be just the thing. Cranberries get a lot sweeter when baked, and between the orange peel and orange juice there’s orangey sweetness too. I substitute whole-wheat flour for half the white flour in the recipe, which makes a substantial bread.

You know, I guess there is a recipe I developed from this experience:

Cranberry Bread Yogurt Sundae

Place a slab of warm cranberry orange bread without sugar in a shallow dish. Butter it. Spread honey on it. Put a scoop of plain yogurt next to it or on top of it. Eat with a spoon.

Yum! It works for me! I have not done the math, though, to find out if there is more sugar per serving in a layer of honey than there would be in a serving of the bread made with sugar . . . but if you bake it unsweetened, at least you are aware of how much sweetness you’re adding and can adjust it.

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering: The big bag of cranberries currently being sold at Costco for $5 contains just over 11 cups, once they are sliced.  I like to slice them all at once using my food processor (phenomenally less tedious than slicing each cranberry by hand!!) and freeze whatever I’m not going to use immediately in 3-cup or 4-cup batches for future bouts of cranberry bread.  In this case, I put the extra fraction of a cup in a glass jar in the refrigerator to be used in my next batch of cooked fruit.

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About 'Becca
author of The Earthling's Handbook, about the environment, parenting, cooking, and more!

6 Responses to Cranberry Bread Without Sugar?

  1. Pary Moppins says:

    Ms. Becca, don’t you just love finding a way around a situation like that. You probably could have also made parfaits or trifles out of the bread and it would have been wonderful and just sweet enough once you added the other ingredients. You know, in England that would be considered a tea bread and not-so-sweet would be preferred. Just put lashings of sweet cream butter on it and sit down with a friend and a cuppa and away you go!

  2. Rachel says:

    Oh my gosh I love this! I have now make banana bread without suger – I actually use about 8 dates, pulvirized in my food processor. It’s gotta be better for you than cane sugar, plus there’s fiber. And seriously, this family flips over cranberry bread – I’ve got to get that bag at Costco!

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