cranberry sauce

No Easier Cranberry Sauce than this one

Sometimes all you have to do is change one ingredient in a recipe and the entire dish tastes different. Like this one. I've made cranberries the same way for years -- bake them with sugar, let them cool, then add brandy.

This year I added some freshly grated orange peel. Huge difference! If you like the orange-cranberry duo, this recipe is for you. Plus -- this recipe is the next easiest thing after opening a can.

Baked Orange Scented Cranberries

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries (3 cups)
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh orange peel
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice (or use brandy or rum)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash and drain the berries and place them in a single layer in a baking dish. Add the sugar and orange peel and toss to coat all the berries. Cover the dish tightly with a lid or aluminum foil. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Remove the cover and stir thoroughly. Let the berries cool. Stir in the juice. Chill thoroughly.

Makes 6-8 servings

Jellied Brandy-spiked Cranberry Sauce

Before my mother learned to make her famous  Baked Cranberries , our Thanksgiving cranberry sauce always came from a can. There were two kinds at the table: whole berry sauce for the grownups and the shivery, quivery jellied stuff for the kids. 
  At some point I tried my hand at homemade jellied cranberry sauce and yes, it is still shivery and quivery (but not so much as the canned kind). I made it in a can too, as a joke, so it could have those can-stripe-indentations.   
  But no one was fooled after taking a taste. They knew it hadn’t come from a can because I   had spiked it with orange brandy.  
  I’ve made several versions of this recipe by now, sometimes with ginger brandy instead of orange, sometimes using juice or cider plus water instead of all water; sometimes mixing in bits of crystallized ginger to give it some extra texture.  
  But this is the basic version. I make it in a ring mold because I usually don’t have empty cans in the house.  

 Jellied Cranberry Sauce 
 4 cups fresh cranberries (one pound) 
 1-2/3 cups water, approximately 
 1-1/4 cups sugar 
 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, ginger brandy or other flavored liqueur 
 1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger, currants, raisins, etc., optional 
 Wash the berries and remove any stems that remain. Drain the berries and place them in a saucepan. Add the water, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 4-5 minutes until the berries pop open. Crush the berries with a hand blender or in a food processor, then place them in a strainer over a bowl and press down to extract as much liquid as possible. There should be 2-1/4 cups. If not, add some water, juice or cider. Place the liquid in a saucepan, stir in the sugar and bring the liquid to a boil. Cook until the mixture reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer or until it is rich looking and dark and can form a gel when you place a drop in cold water. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the brandy and optional ingredients, if used. Pour into clean cans (best to use #2 cans, about 15-16 ounce size). Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. To umold, use the tip of a sharp knife around the edges, invert the can over a plate and shake it out. Makes 8 servings

Before my mother learned to make her famous Baked Cranberries, our Thanksgiving cranberry sauce always came from a can. There were two kinds at the table: whole berry sauce for the grownups and the shivery, quivery jellied stuff for the kids.

At some point I tried my hand at homemade jellied cranberry sauce and yes, it is still shivery and quivery (but not so much as the canned kind). I made it in a can too, as a joke, so it could have those can-stripe-indentations. 

But no one was fooled after taking a taste. They knew it hadn’t come from a can because I had spiked it with orange brandy.

I’ve made several versions of this recipe by now, sometimes with ginger brandy instead of orange, sometimes using juice or cider plus water instead of all water; sometimes mixing in bits of crystallized ginger to give it some extra texture.

But this is the basic version. I make it in a ring mold because I usually don’t have empty cans in the house.

Jellied Cranberry Sauce

4 cups fresh cranberries (one pound)

1-2/3 cups water, approximately

1-1/4 cups sugar

2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, ginger brandy or other flavored liqueur

1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger, currants, raisins, etc., optional

Wash the berries and remove any stems that remain. Drain the berries and place them in a saucepan. Add the water, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 4-5 minutes until the berries pop open. Crush the berries with a hand blender or in a food processor, then place them in a strainer over a bowl and press down to extract as much liquid as possible. There should be 2-1/4 cups. If not, add some water, juice or cider. Place the liquid in a saucepan, stir in the sugar and bring the liquid to a boil. Cook until the mixture reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer or until it is rich looking and dark and can form a gel when you place a drop in cold water. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the brandy and optional ingredients, if used. Pour into clean cans (best to use #2 cans, about 15-16 ounce size). Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. To umold, use the tip of a sharp knife around the edges, invert the can over a plate and shake it out. Makes 8 servings

Leftover Cranberries?

I remember the day when my mother decided to get all sophisticated on us and switch from canned jellied cranberry sauce to the canned whole berry kind. I thought my Thanksgiving world was going to ruins. I liked that cylinder of shimmering, quivering jelly with the can indentation lines on it. I liked the way the pieces flopped onto the plate when my mother cut it into thick, velvety slices. 

The whole berry kind was somewhat too grownup for my then 8 or 9 year old self, but I had to admit that it was good too, not the disaster I anticipated.

But the best was when she got a new recipe for baked cranberry sauce. It’s the one I make every year, although sometimes I add on a second version. Then I know there will be leftovers.

Everyone always talks about the turkey leftovers. But there’s so many delicious things you can do with cranberry sauce leftovers! Like fritters to go with that turkey sandwich!

Cranberry Fritters

1 cup all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons sugar

2 large eggs

1/3 cup milk or coconut, almond or soy milk

1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce

vegetable oil for frying

sifted confectioner’s sugar, optional

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and sugar into a bowl. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and milk together until well blended. Add the flour mixture and mix until well blended. Fold in the cranberries. Heat 1/2-inch vegetable oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot enough to make a bread crumb sizzle, drop the batter by the tablespoonful into the hot oil. Leave space between the fritters so that they cook crisply. Fry for a minute or two per side or until browned and crispy. Drain on paper towels. Serve plain or with sifted confectioner’s sugar. Makes 6 servings

Baked Cranberries

On Thanksgiving when I was a kid the cranberry sauce choices were either the jellied kind that trembled or the lumpy kind that clumped together on the plate. In either case, from the can. The lumpy stuff was way too sophisticated for me. The shivery kind went down easier.  Then my mother discovered fresh cranberries. We never looked back. Especially because the recipe is so easy you could do it in less than 5 minutes prep time. And even though it is lumpy, the fruit has a faintly resilient texture and your tongue can actually tell it’s berries you’re eating. It doesn’t cook into an indistinguishable mass. It’s good and beautiful too.   Baked Cranberries   12 ounces fresh cranberries (3 cups)  1-1/2 cups sugar  3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange flavored brandy  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash and drain the berries and place them in a single layer in a baking dish. Add the sugar and toss to coat all the berries. Cover the dish tightly with a lid or aluminum foil. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Remove the cover and stir thoroughly. Let the berries cool. Stir in the brandy. Chill thoroughly. Makes 6-8 servings

On Thanksgiving when I was a kid the cranberry sauce choices were either the jellied kind that trembled or the lumpy kind that clumped together on the plate. In either case, from the can. The lumpy stuff was way too sophisticated for me. The shivery kind went down easier.

Then my mother discovered fresh cranberries. We never looked back. Especially because the recipe is so easy you could do it in less than 5 minutes prep time. And even though it is lumpy, the fruit has a faintly resilient texture and your tongue can actually tell it’s berries you’re eating. It doesn’t cook into an indistinguishable mass. It’s good and beautiful too.

Baked Cranberries

12 ounces fresh cranberries (3 cups)

1-1/2 cups sugar

3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange flavored brandy

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash and drain the berries and place them in a single layer in a baking dish. Add the sugar and toss to coat all the berries. Cover the dish tightly with a lid or aluminum foil. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Remove the cover and stir thoroughly. Let the berries cool. Stir in the brandy. Chill thoroughly. Makes 6-8 servings

Jellied Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is supposed to be a cylinder that quivers like jello and has ring indentations from the can. Isn’t it?

That was the standard when I was growing up anyway. But during the years that followed I learned to make cranberry sauce from scratch and concocted or discovered zillions of good recipes, all of the lumpy variety.

One day I decided to cook a homemade version of that jellied, canned looking kind, just for fun.

I served it at Thanksgiving dinner and everyone was a little puzzled because it looked somewhat darker than the usual. Then they dug in and that was the real surprise. I had slipped some brandy into the mix so it didn’t taste a thing like the supermarket variety. And the texture set it apart too. It was smooth, dense, lush.

Here’s the recipe I used. I experimented with it many times after that, sometimes changing the brandy, sometimes adding little tidbits like chopped raisins, currants or crystallized ginger. Everyone is always pleased no matter which version they get. You can make it without the brandy of course, just add a bit more water and, if you like, some flavorful extract (orange, mint, almond).

Jellied Cranberry Sauce

4 cups fresh cranberries (one pound)

1-2/3 cups water

1-1/4 cups sugar

2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, ginger brandy or other flavored liqueur

1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger, currants, raisins, etc., optional

Wash the berries and remove any stems that remain. Drain the berries and place them in a saucepan. Add the water, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 4-5 minutes until the berries pop open. Crush the berries with a hand blender or in a food processor, then place them in a strainer over a bowl and press down to extract as much liquid as possible. There should be 2-1/4 cups. If not, add some water. Place the liquid in a saucepan, stir in the sugar and bring the liquid to a boil. Cook until the mixture reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer or until it is rich looking and dark and can form a gel when you place a drop in cold water. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the brandy and optional ingredients, if used. Pour into clean cans (best to use #2 cans, about 15-16 ounce size). Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. To umold, use the tip of a sharp knife around the edges, invert the can over a plate and shake it out. Makes 8 servings