Okay, maybe it's cake without icing. I made this really good... ah... item this morning. I thought about doing it in muffin form. I like muffins. But we're out of the nice foil muffin cups that I prefer. I've found that gf baked items tend to stick to paper muffin cups (especially since I usually cut the amount of butter or oil in the recipes I borrow from.) I've been planning on buying some silicone muffin cup things, but I just haven't yet. Anyway, I decided to do it in a loaf pan. I don't really like the word loaf to describe something that was as light and fluffy and moist and sweet and tasty as this was. So I'm going with "bread." Truth be told, it's probably cake. Whatever. Totally delicious, whatever you call it.
Orange Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Bread
1 3/4 gluten-free flour blend (I'm still liking Arrowhead Mills the best -- it comes preloaded with xanthan gum)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (if your flour blend doesn't have it, like Bob's Red Mill)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup mandarin oranges, drained (save the juice)
1/4 of the juice from the mandarin oranges
3/4 cup almond milk (I used unsweetened vanilla flavored because we accidentally bought the wrong kind and it's what was in the fridge)
1 stick melted butter
1/4 cup fresh cranberries
6 Xocai Omega squares broken into pieces, or approx 1/3 cup dark chocolate in chip or chunk format (the Omega Squares, in addition to their dark chocolatey goodness, have an orangy thing going on, so they are the perfect pairing for this cake-bread. So good. No lie.)
Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 5 X 9 loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Thoroughly combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a blender, combine the mandarin oranges and juice, almond milk, melted butter, eggs, and cranberries and blend until smooth and a little frothy, (my blender did it in about 5 short-to-medium pulse bursts.). The cranberries and oranges should fairly obliterated. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Don't over mix -- the batter is really sticky and will only get more so. Fold in the chocolate. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan (this bread was pretty puffy going into the pan and didn't rise much, so you could use any pan that could fit the batter, just keep an eye on it while baking.) Bake for 40 - 50 minutes, until the top is browned and springs back when lightly touched. Remove from the oven and let stand 15-20 minutes. Enjoy it warm. Then enjoy it again later at room temperature. Grudgingly share it with your loved ones, even the ones that don't have to eat gluten-free, because you love them so much. Wish you'd made more so that you could have it with your lunch the next day.