Archive for: cranberry sauce
Tart and tangy cranberries are often pared with oranges and orange juice, but cranberries actually go very well with all kinds of citrus. I like cranberries with lemon in cakes and quickbreads, for instance, and lime might be an even better match for them. Limes have a bold, tart flavor that is similar to that of cranberries, and as long as you balance the sugar out so that your finished product isn’t overly tart, you will get a combination that is a winner no matter what you are baking.
These Lime and Cranberry Thumbprint Cookies have a great balance of lime and cranberry in a very pretty cookie that is a festive addition to any dessert plate. The cookies start out with a shortbread-type cookie dough that is flavored with lime zest and vanilla. There is no leavening in the dough because you need the cookies to hold their shape during baking, after you make “thumbprints” to fill with cranberry sauce. You can use just about any cranberry sauce for this recipe (I usually use a homemade sauce) as long as it has chunks of real fruit in it. Cranberry jelly, which is more like jello, is not ideal for this recipe.
The cookies are tender and buttery, with a good lime flavor and a bright burst of cranberry in the center. They’re a little bit soft, rather than crispy, which is nice with the cranberry sauce center.
I typically make the thumbprint marks for these cookies by using my finger, dipping it in a little bit of flour in case it gets sticky while I’m working. You can also use the end of a large wooden spoon, if you have one that has a round handle on it, or the back of a half or quarter teaspoon measure. I always eyeball the amount of filling, trying to mound it just over the top of the cookie dough around my thumbprint. Don’t worry too much about getting an exact amount of filling in each indent, just fill up the thumbprint you have made – large or small. It’s more important not to go overboard with too much cranberry sauce, because your cookies won’t have a clean look if the filling bubbles over the side of the cookie during baking.
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.
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.
I always have cranberry sauce leftover after Thanksgiving. I usually make a batch or two of homemade sauce, and I often buy a jar or two just in case I need some more. It’s not that I think that anyone is going to gorge themselves on cranberry sauce at dinner and I’ll run out, I just like to have the leftover sauce around for other things. For instance, you can’t serve a plate of reheated turkey and stuffing without a little cranberry on the side, can you? But there are many other great ways to use up that sauce, so if you’re like me and still have a half of a container sitting in the fridge, try one of these:
- Cranberry Swirl Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting. These easy to make pumpkin bars have cranberry sauce swirled throughout to give them extra moistness and lend a sweet-tart taste to the spicy cake bars. It’s a great overall contrast and a nice new way to enjoy the cranberry sauce.
- Turkey Cranberry and Brie Panini. Although it is also a good way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers, this toasted sandwich is so delicious that you might crack open a jar of cranberry sauce just to make it. The brie is rich and creamy, and the cranberries are the perfect contrast to that flavor.
- Cranberry Sauce Cobbler. Add a little bit of cranberry sauce to your favorite cobbler recipe – whether it is cherry, apple, pear or Blackberry Cranberry Sauce Cobbler – to mix things up a bit. There are so many other fruits that go well with cranberries and fruit cobbler recipes are very forgiving about the exact quantity of fruit that goes into their fillings. Try adding a half cup of cranberry sauce to start with, bringing in color and flavor!
- Cranberry Swirl Bread. No recipe needed for this idea, because you start with whatever your favorite muffin or quick bread recipe is. Make your regular banana bread loaf (or try mine) and instead of pouring all of the batter into a loaf pan, pour half in and then add a layer of cranberry sauce before adding the rest of the batter. This will give you a great swirl that is tasty with banana breads, ginger breads and all kinds of coffee cake.
- Cranberry Barbecue Sauce. Again, this is a recipe where that sweet-tart flavor can really shine. I usually make this cranberry barbecue sauce with fresh cranberries, but you can start with the sauce instead of using fresh berries and sugar (which just makes more sauce!) and create a very flavorful, seasonal base for a homemade barbecue sauce that is tasty on just about anything.
Cranberry sauce can be a great addition to a cobbler or crisp recipe. The basic cranberry sauce recipe calls for whole berries and sugar, which are also the two main ingredients in most fruit cobbler recipes (although you can use fruits besides berries, of course!). The cranberry sauce is already cooked, so it isn’t necessarily a great choice on its own to serve as the base for a cobbler, but it can be combined with all kinds of other fruits to make some delicious desserts.
This recipe for Blackberry Cranberry Sauce Cobbler is a great way to use a little bit of leftover cranberry sauce. It uses whole blackberries and whole cranberries, in addition to the cranberry sauce. The blackberries are much sweeter than the cranberries, so they give a rich flavor and a nice sugar level to the dish. The cranberry sauce helps to bring out the flavor of the cranberries without emphasizing their tartness, which simply adding more cranberries could do.
Use fresh or frozen berries for this dish, depending on what you have on hand. I like it simple, with just a bit of ice cream or whipped cream on the side. It is definitely best when it is fresh from the oven – especially if it is cold outside! If you don’t have cranberry sauce, add an extra half cup of blackberries. The cobbler will have a little bit less of a pronounced cranberry flavor than the cranberry sauce version, but it will still turn out to be a tasty, simple dessert.