Cranberry Christmas

I pretty much hate Christmas day.

I know, I know.

I should be all thankful and blessed.

And I am.

But I still hate Christmas day.

First things first,

Happy Birthday Jesus.

Second,

as much as I love the anticipation of Christmas and the warm, glow-y feeling that happens for 24 magical days,

I HATE HATE HATE

Christmas afternoon when the excitement has worn down, the gifts are all unwrapped and there is regular programing on tv.

If you’re like me, your anxiety will get the best of you’ll unsuccessfully try to create a healthified pumpkin bread recipe and subsequently throw six failed attempts in the garbage.

Then, you’ll give in wise up and follow a recipe.

After all, Baby Jesus doesn’t like bad bread.

Since I pretty much burned through my pumpkin supply (including the emergency stash),

I decided to go a different route.

This bread is low-fat but you’d never know it because it’s loaded with chocolate and bursting with fresh cranberries.

The technique for getting a good rise with this bread is a little unusual since it doesn’t rely on eggs or dairy for leavening.

The trick is to alternately incorporate boiling water and the flour mixture with the wet ingredients to get a thick, smooth batter.

It takes a few extra steps, but comes together in a snap if you’ve read all the instructions before you begin cooking.

Christmas Cranberry Chocolate Loaf

(Slightly adapted from Post Punk Kitchen)

1/4 cup applesauce

2 tablespoons canola oil

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup boiling water, divided

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup fresh cranberries

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Boil water.

Mix applesauce, cocoa, and oil in a large bowl.

Sift together flour, spices, baking powder and salt.

Add 1/3 cup boiling water to the cocoa mixture and stir to combine.

Add 1/2 flour mixture and stir gently.

Add 1 tablespoon boiling water and stir again (gently).

Add the rest of the flour mixture and stir.

Add 1 more tablespoon of water and stir until smooth.

Add cranberries and chocolate chips.

Pour into 8 inch loaf pan.

Bake 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool in pan for five minutes and remove from pan to cool completely.

Maybe Christmas day isn’t so bad after all.

I mean, this bread is practically a Christmas miracle.

As in, it’s a miracle my pants still fit.

Merry Christmas and in the first words of my favorite frozen man,

Happy Birthday!

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