Archive for: cranberries
Cranberries have a distinct sweet-tart flavor that is what people love about them. Cranberries are often paired with flavors – such as oranges or lemons – that highlight the tartness of the berries and brings it out more. This is definitely a classic approach, but sometimes I want to highlight the sweetness of my cranberries and play down that tartness a little bit. One way to do this is by introducing other berries to a sauce to play up those berry flavors and minimize that tang.
My Vanilla Cranberry Sauce with Blueberries is on the sweeter side of things, although the cranberries still deliver a good amount of tart flavor to the sauce. The sauce starts off with plenty of fresh cranberries (frozen, not defrosted will work, too) that are cooked with some sugar and blueberries. Vanilla is added at the end to finish the sauce. The sauce takes just a few minutes to put together and has a great combination of sweet blueberries, bright cranberries and smooth vanilla. It is easy to eat by the spoonful, but tastes great when served as a Thanksgiving side dish or when slathered on a leftover turkey sandwich.
The blueberries add a nice sweetness to the cranberries, and give the sauce a color that is really vibrant – much deeper than cranberries along typically deliver. As with the cranberries, fresh or frozen blueberries can be used, but fresh blueberries will finish a little bit better because they won’t break down quite as much as frozen blueberries will.
The sauce should be cooled before serving, and if it is stored in an airtight container, it will store very well when kept in the fridge.
Cranberries may be a staple of fall baking, especially around Thanksgiving, but these sweet-tart berries can be a welcome addition to recipes any time of the year. These Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins are a perfect example. In them, whole cranberries add bright bursts of color to the muffins and contrast very well with the chunks of rich chocolate that also stud these brunch time treats. They’re topped off with a little bit of sweet streusel. The muffins are buttery, light and have a nice vanilla flavor that allows both the cranberries and chocolate to stand out.
You can use both fresh or frozen cranberries in this recipe, whichever you have on hand. Since the berries are fairly large, big chocolate chunks work quite well in these muffins. You can chop up your favorite dark chocolate bar (choose a good quality chocolate!) to get a really chunky feel to your chocolate, or you can simply use chocolate chips. Semisweet and dark chocolate go a little bit better with the cranberries than milk chocolate does in this recipe.
The recipe makes slightly more than a dozen muffins, and one of the reasons for that is that there are so many mix-ins in the muffin batter. I wanted the muffins to be packed with chocolate and cranberries, then leave a little room for streusel on top, and that left me with enough batter for a few more muffins. Fortunately, in this case, it is a pleasure to have a few extra muffins available.
I have a soft spot for jellied cranberry sauce as a Thanksgiving side dish, as that was a favorite of mine when I was a kid, but these days I am much more likely to make my own cranberry sauce with fresh berries to serve as a holiday side (and that includes Homemade Cranberry Jelly). I like cranberry sauces that the sweet-tart flavor of the cranberries shine through without being overly tart or sour, which can make the cranberry sauce overpower things like turkey and stuffing. This Blood Orange Cranberry Sauce fits the bill nicely. The sauce is made with whole cranberries, freshly squeezed blood orange juice and has whole piece of blood orange in it. The orange adds some extra sweetness to the cranberries while adding a bright, fresh citrus flavor to the sauce.
To make it, you’ll need a bag of fresh or frozen cranberries. Frozen berries will always work well for a sauce, but I typically use fresh berries when my local markets carry them. The berries are cooked with blood orange juice and whole blood orange segments from a supremeed orange. Supreming an orange means that you cut down a whole orange into its most tender segments, removing the peel, pith and the tough “skin” that holds the slices together (tutorial here). By prepping the oranges this way, you get very tender pieces of fruit to add to your sauce.
Blood oranges make a good color match for the cranberries and the juice is slightly sweeter than that of some other types of oranges. That said, you can easily substitute any other type of orange into this recipe if you don’t have blood oranges and still get tasty results.
A basic cinnamon streusel is a classic topping for coffee cake, but coffee cakes, like muffins, are things that can easily be transformed by the addition of a few flavorful extra ingredients. There is no cinnamon in sight in this Cranberry Nut Coffee Cake, but there are lots of crunchy pecans, sweet-tart dried cranberries and a brown sugar streusel – all of which will make you reach for seconds even before you’ve finished your first piece.
The cake has a soft, buttery crumb and a texture that is almost like pound cake. It is dense enough to hold up the streusel layer and support all the dried cranberries packed into the batter, but it is still very tender. Instead of using buttermilk or milk as the liquid in this cake, I used sour cream to enrich it. Both full fat and low fat sour cream will give you good results, and having the lower fat option allows you to lighten up the coffee cake a little bit if you want to.
I like dried cranberries for this coffee cake. They’re sweet, tart and available year round, while fresh and even frozen cranberries can be very difficult to find if you want to bake this cake in the spring. Fresh and frozen cranberries can be chopped up and added to the coffee cake batter to add an even brighter cranberry flavor. Another flavor variation I like to use in this cake is to add some orange zest to the batter, as oranges and cranberries are an excellent pairing.
These cookies have a secret ingredient: white chocolate. You might be thinking that there is nothing particularly secretive about it, because this ingredient is also listed in the name of the cookies – but you would be wrong. The reason that white chocolate is a secret ingredient in these cookies is because it is incorporated twice. Not only are there white chocolate chips in the cookies themselves, but there is white chocolate melted right into the cookie dough.
Good quality white chocolate should have a creamy texture and the flavors of both cream and vanilla. When you add it to the cookie dough, these flavors are really brought out in the finished cookie. The chocolate also contributes to a nicely chewy texture at the centers of the cookies made with this particular recipe.
These cookies are crisp on the edges, chewy in the center and irresistible when they are fresh from the oven. They will spread a bit, but this enhances the contrast between the edges and the center of the cookie. They are not too sweet and have a great vanilla flavor to them, which makes a great backdrop to the tangy dried cranberries that are also mixed in.