'Tis the Season for Cranberries

Cranberries make their appearance this time of year. Step outside of the box and add these flavorful jewels to other dishes beyond the standard side dish from a can with these great cranberry recipes

When we think of a traditional Thanksgiving Day feast, it is not complete without the typical cranberry sauce on the side. But cranberries can add a festive touch to food throughout the day.

Wake up with a yummy Cranberry Cream Cheese Spread for toast or bagels. The spread is also delicious as a dip for graham crackers or apple slices. Have your guests munch on fragrant pecans with dried cranberries tossed in, while waiting for the bird to come out of the oven.

Warm the adults with a yummy cranberry based drink that is reminiscent of cherry pie and finish the meal with a Frosted Cranberry-Cherry Pie that will leave guests begging for more. The Frosted Cranberry-Cherry Pie recipe dates back many years from a recipe I pulled off of a Pillsbury Pie Crust box. It has been modified slightly, but the recipe credit belongs to Pillsbury.

Fresh cranberries, dried cranberries and canned cranberry sauce are easily found at any  or  in St. Charles County, as are most of the other ingredients. However, for a few special things, St. Charles County boasts great local shops with the freshest of nuts and spices.

My favorite stop for herbs and spices,  in St. Charles carries all the spices you need to whip up these flavorful creations, including cinnamon that puts mass-marketed cinnamon to shame.  in St. Peters carries dried cranberries as well as raw pecans.

Get creative and don’t let cranberries be relegated to the same boring side dish scooped from a can! These recipes bring a touch of the holidays any day ~ all season long.

Cranberry Cream Cheese Spread

Makes about 1 cup

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup cranberries, sliced in half or quarters
  • 1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Whip all ingredients in a small bowl. Cranberry Cream Cheese Spread can be made two days in advance. Cover it tightly and refrigerate until needed.

Warm Cranberry Cocktail

For each beverage you will need:

  • 8 ounces cranberry juice cocktail
  • 1.5 ounces almond flavored liquor
  • Whipped cream for topping

In a large pot, heat cranberry juice cocktail until just simmering. Remove from heat and stir in almond liquor. Ladle into mugs and serve with whipped cream if desired.

This recipe can be made in a crock pot and kept warm all day.

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Pecans with Cranberries

Makes 4 cups

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 cups raw pecans
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 300. Line a large, rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whip the egg whites with a fork until frothy. Stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, vanilla and brown sugar.  Add pecans and stir gently until all the pecans are thoroughly coated with the egg white and sugar mixture.

Spread the pecans in a single layer onto the lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and stir the pecans gently. Return the sheet to the oven and continue baking for 10 minutes more, until the pecans are toasted and fragrant.

Cool completely. Toss in cranberries. Store the mixture for up to two days in an airtight container.

Frosted Cranberry-Cherry Pie (based off of a Pillsbury recipe)

Serves 8

  • Pie crust for a one double crust pie (your favorite recipe or pre-made)
  • 21 ounce can cherry pie filling
  • 16 ounce can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract, divided
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • ¼ cup sliced toasted almonds
  • Preheat oven to 400.

Prepare pie crust as directed. Place the bottom pie crust into a 9 inch pie pan.

In a large bowl, combine cherry pie filling, cranberry sauce, cornstarch, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon almond extract. Pour filling into prepared pie crust.

Top with second pie crust and seal. With a sharp knife, gently make six to eight slashes in the top pie crust to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until the top crust is golden brown.

Meanwhile, whisk together powdered sugar, remaining almond extract, water and corn syrup. While the pie is hot, drizzle the powdered sugar glaze over the pie. Arrange sliced almonds on top of the glaze.

Cool at least two hours before serving.

Kemery Baldwin November 23, 2011 at 07:56 PM
Anything with cranberry is fine by me!


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