Orange Apricot Bread with Cranberries

In this very moist bread, the sweetness of oranges is beautifully balanced by the tartness of dried apricots and cranberries.  If you prefer to make smaller loaves, fill pans 2/3 full and begin checking for doneness after 25 minutes. I recommend using Turkish or Mediterranean apricots because they are plumper and sweeter than California apricots.

Serve with breakfast, brunch or salads, or spread with cream cheese for tea sandwiches.  

1/2 cup dried apricots (Turkish preferred)
1 cup sugar
Grated peel of one orange (about 2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large egg
2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
1 cup water
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease or spray a 9 x 5x3-inch loaf pan. 

2.  Put apricots into a small microwave-safe bowl.  Cover with 3/4 cup water.  Microwave on high (100% power) for 2 minutes or until water is boiling and apricots are plump.  Drain and set aside.

3. Put sugar and orange peel into a food processor with the metal blade and process until orange peel is finely ground, about 60 seconds.  Add oil and egg and process until blended, about 30 seconds.  Add orange juice concentrate, water and drained apricots.  Process for 60 seconds or until apricots are very finely chopped.  Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Process for 30 seconds or until thoroughly incorporated.  Add cranberries and pulse 3 or 4 times to mix.  Scrape batter into prepared pan.  

4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until top is lightly golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.   Remove from oven and immediately invert onto a cooling rack.  Turn right side up and cool.   (Store wrapped bread at room temperature for 2 days, refrigerate for 7 days or freeze.)

MAKE AHEAD: Store bread wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 3 days, refrigerate for one week or wrap in heavy foil and freeze. 

Makes 1 (9x5x3-inch) loaf.    

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