Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year, and one of the things I love most about this season is the variety of scents – especially the yummy ones from the kitchen! Nothing quite beats the smell of sugar cookies, cinnamon, and pine.
I’m not doing a lot of baking for Christmas this year, but I did experiment with a new recipe for cranberry sauce today. Years ago while wandering through Trader Joe’s, I found a recipe for cranberry sauce on a bag of whole cranberries; if I remember correctly, it was pretty much orange juice, water, cranberries, and a cup of sugar. I’d never made cranberry sauce before, but it looked simple enough, so I tried it, and it was fantastic. This year, I found myself thinking, “I bet cinnamon would be a great addition to that recipe…” I really only meant to add some cinnamon, but one thing led to another and I ended up making a nutty orange-cranberry-apple sauce, which I present to you as Festive Christmas Cranberry Sauce – complete with festive packaging:
1 12 oz bag of whole cranberries
2 large apples
6 oz chopped walnuts (optional)
1 1/2 cups orange juice
1/4 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp whole cloves
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1. Rinse cranberries and pour into a large saucepan.
2. Peel, core, and dice 2 apples. (I recommend using two different kinds of apples, to make the flavor more fun.) Add the diced apples to the saucepan.
3. Add chopped walnuts (optional). Stir until well-mixed.
4. Pour 1 1/2 cups of orange juice over the mixture, and warm over medium heat until boiling.
5. Add 1/4 cup of sugar, stir, and reduce heat.
6. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves – stir thoroughly.
7. Simmer uncovered on low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cranberries have split, and cloves are soft. As the sauce cooks, add up to 1/4 cup additional sugar to taste.
This cranberry sauce can be served hot or cold, and as either a side dish or a dessert.
1. It’s delicious, hot or cold. (If you’ve never had piping hot cranberry sauce, I’d recommend trying it!)
2. It’s actually fairly healthy!
Most cranberry sauce recipes are water-based and call for an entire cup of sugar. Using orange juice (which is packed with Vitamin C), gives this sauce some natural sweetness, so less sugar is required. I used 1/2 a cup, but I would actually recommend starting with 1/4 cup and adding more to taste. As it simmers, the sweetness of the orange juice, natural sugars from the apples, and the tartness of the berries will all start to balance each other out in the sauce, so you may not need as much sugar as you think – and you definitely don’t need a whole cup.
"Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else." —Fred Rogers via @momentumdash
Looking for something quick, light, and healthy for dinner this evening? Here's an idea! ow.ly/8pAk3099AdS
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