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Cranberry Orange Pistachio Loaf - Mary's!  

I can't say often enough how blessed I am to have found Mary's blog years ago.  I have gotten so many wonderful recipes there and dared to try new things because of her easy to follow instructions.  This one is so delicious that though we had a piece at lunch, I find myself still marveling at it at bedtime!  It's not hard to make either.  You can see her beautiful post here.

This was my first time trying those paper loaf baking pans.  They work great!  Makes gift giving easy too.  Two thumbs up for paper loaf pans and Home Goods for carrying them!  

It was also my first time making orange zest.  I do lemon, but hadn't run across orange zest before this.  I love making dark chocolate dipped candied orange peel, but this was my first orange zest.  It is FANTASTIC and I'll be using a lot more of it.   Oh how wonderful the house smelled while it was cooking and long afterward!

I made the first batch within hours of seeing her post, but I couldn't find pistachios or any cranberries except dried ones in the salad topping isle.  The recipe calls for two cups of chopped cranberries and a cup of chopped pistachios.  I bought three bags (1 cup each) of these salad toppings to equal those three cups. 

The dried cranberries didn't show as brightly red on the top of the loaves as hers did with the fresh cranberries, but when you cut it, they were beautiful.  The candied pecans went perfectly!  This bread was so luscious, crunchy crust and tender and moist inside...wonderful!

I made a second batch a couple of days later.  This time I was able to find the fresh cranberries and pistachios, so I made it by her recipe exactly.  Well, I still used sanding sugar on top instead of regular sugar.  It gives such a great sparkle!  It was so much prettier with all the red everywhere and green pistachios, but every single person that had both said they preferred the first batch where I substituted the dried cranberries and candied pecans.  Surprising.

Isn't that gorgeous???  Fresh cranberries and fresh rosemary on a snowy bed of sugar!  Maybe you'll try it too!  Don't you just love giving your baked goodies away to brighten other's days and give God glory?  Merry Christmas, God bless you and yours and thanks for stopping by!

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