Tag Archives: cranberries

Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (and other stuff): Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

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DAY 12 : Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

A delicious quick bread that makes great gifts for friends and neighbors. It is also great spread with a little cream cheese before eating.

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Dollar stores and Michaels often sell cute Christmas mini-loaf pans that you can bake these in. Then you can give the cute little pan to neighbors along with the bread.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread Pan

RECIPE:

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Yield: 2 regular loaves or 5-6 mini-loaves

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4 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 can (16oz) pumpkin puree
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
2 cups chopped fresh cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two regular loaf pans (or 6-8 mini loaf pans), or spray with Baking Pam.

Beat eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla, and pumpkin until well mixed.

Whisk together flour, baking soda and powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.  Stir into pumpkin mixture. Fold in chopped cranberries and walnuts.

Spoon batter into prepared pans. Fill mini loaf pans about 2/3 full.

For regular loaf pans: bake for 60 minutes
For mini-loaf pans: bake for 35-45 minutes

Bake until top of loaf springs back when touched gently (or toothpick comes out clean). Check bread after about 30 minutes: cover loosely with foil if it is beginning to brown too quickly.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Cookies

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DAY 9: Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Cookies

Cranberries and oranges are flavors that pair so well together. This is a soft cookie with a cake-like texture topped with an orange glaze. I like that they are not overly sweet.

A note on storing glazed cookies: The glaze will continue to set as the cookies sit at room temperature, but it does not become hard enough to stack the cookies, especially in humid climates. To store these cookies (or other frosted/glazed cookies, allow the glaze to set at room temperature for at least an hour. Then place the glazed cookies  in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the freezer until completely frozen. Transfer the completely frozen cookies to a tupperware container and store in the freezer. To serve, remove individual frozen cookies from the freezer and allow them to thaw in a single layer (not stacked).

My kids usually skip the thawing step. They just grab cookies straight from the freezer and eat them.

RECIPE:

Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Cookies

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½ cup dried cranberries
1 ½ cups  flour
Zest of half of an orange (about ½ tsp), use other half in glaze
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
6 Tbs butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 Tbs fresh squeezed orange juice
1 Tbs heavy cream
Zest of half of an orange (about ½ tsp)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Put the dried cranberries in a small bowl with about 1 cup of  hot (but not boiling)  water. Allow them to sit for 5 minutes; drain.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, orange zest, baking soda and salt.

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat well to mix. Mix in the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately in batches at low speed, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix in the dried cranberries.

Drop the dough by tablespoons onto baking sheets. Bake at 350°F for 10-11 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 1 minute; then transfer them to a wire rack. Cool cookies completely.

For the glaze, whisk together the sifted powdered sugar, orange juice, cream and orange zest. Add additional juice or sugar until glaze is spreading consistency. Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the glaze over the cooled cookies.

STORAGE NOTE: The glaze will continue to set as the cookies sit at room temperature, but it does not become hard enough to stack the cookies, especially in humid climates. To store these cookies (or other frosted/glazed cookies, allow the glaze to set at room temperature for at least an hour. Then place the glazed cookies  in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the freezer until completely frozen. Transfer the completely frozen cookies to a tupperware container and store in the freezer. To serve, remove individual frozen cookies from the freezer and allow them to thaw in a single layer (not stacked).

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

(Adapted from TwoPeasAndTheirPod)

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Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad

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This is a basic chicken salad recipe with a few extras that add a nice zing. Dried cranberries provide just the right amount of sweetness. Toasted pecans, which I always love paired with cranberries, add the perfect crunch.

This is a very adaptable recipe. I usually have shredded chicken in the freezer, so I often use that. But leftover roast chicken makes a really great salad. And you can’t beat the price and ease of pre-cooked roasted chickens these days!

You can use halved grapes instead of cranberries, but if you haven’t tried chicken salad with cranberries, it really is amazing. I have also made this with walnuts or slivered almonds. Be sure to toast the nuts first. This keeps the nuts from being bitter and helps them retain their crunch when mixed with the dressing.

Crumbled bacon is listed as an optional ingredient in the recipe below, but around here it is mandatory. My family always wants crumbled bacon sprinkled on the top of their sandwiches, but “Did you make bacon?” is a pretty standard question around here, regardless of what the meal is.

RECIPE:

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Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad

4 cups shredded or diced cooked chicken (about 2 lb)
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 green onions, sliced
1/2  cup dried cranberries  (or use 1 cup halved grapes)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or use walnuts or slivered almonds), toasted
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
3 Tbs white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar or lemon juice)
1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp dried dill (or tarragon)
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
6-8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, optional

In a large bowl, mix cooked chicken, celery, green onions, cranberries or grapes, and toasted nuts.

In a small bowl mix dressing ingredients: mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, parsley, dill, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over chicken until salad is desired consistency. There may be a little extra, depending on how moist you like your chicken salad.

Garnish with cooked and crumbled bacon, if desired. Do not mix the cooked bacon into the salad. It becomes too soft and mushy. Sprinkle over individual sandwiches just before serving.

 

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Cranberry Orange Pinwheels

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DAY 11: Cranberry Orange Pinwheels

Traditional flavors of Christmas, all swirled into a bite-sized cookie. Buttery orange dough swirled with chopped fresh cranberries and pecans. A delicious cookie for the grown-up cookie plate.

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RECIPE:

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Cranberry Orange Pinwheels
—————–(from Better Homes & Gardens)

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 tsp grated orange peel
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cranberries
1 cup pecans
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and orange peel until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill dough about 1 hour or until easy to handle.

For filling, in a food processor combine cranberries, pecans, and brown sugar. Cover and blend or process until cranberries and nuts are finely chopped; set filling aside.

Roll half of the dough between pieces of waxed paper (or plastic wrap) into a 10-inch square. Spread half of the filling over dough square to within 1/2 inch of edges; roll up dough. Moisten edges; pinch to seal. Wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Chill for 4 to 24 hours.

Cut rolls into 1/4-inch slices . Place slices 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 3 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Makes about 60 cookies

 

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Twelve (More) Days of Christmas Cookies: Trail Mix Cookies

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DAY 6: We’re half-way through our sugar-laden journey through Christmas cookies. Time for a cookie that at least pretends to be healthy. Packed full of everything you love in a good trail mix: dried fruits, nuts, 3 different seeds (and a little chocolate, of course); plus rolled oats, honey, whole wheat flour and wheat germ.  I find these cookies very addicting. I love the hearty mouth-feel and chewy texture.

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RECIPE:

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Trail Mix Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour (white or finely milled whole wheat)
½ cup wheat germ
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups rolled oats
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1 cup slivered almonds
¾ cup sunflower seeds, unsalted
1/3 cup flax seeds
¼ cup sesame seeds
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cream butter and brown sugar; beat in honey, eggs and vanilla. Beat in flour, wheat germ, baking soda and salt. Stir in oats, fruits, nuts, seeds and chocolate chips.  Mix well.

Drop by tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 375°F for 8-10 minutes.

Cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet before removing to wire racks.

Makes about 60 cookies

 

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES (2010) RECAP:
DAY 1: Raspberry Crumb Bars
DAY 2: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
DAY 3: Chocolate Nutella Cookies
DAY 4: Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
DAY 5: Almond Macaroon Brownies

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Thanksgiving: Roasted Garlic Stuffing

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When it comes to stuffing, I stand firmly on the “outside of the turkey” argument. I am not a fan of soggy stuffing straight from the bird. Or that you have to overcook your turkey in order to bring the stuffing to a safe temperature.

The problem with this can be: how do you fit everything in the oven that needs to be baked and have it all hot at serving time. Especially when you only have one oven. I am experiencing some serious Dual-Oven-Envy at my house. Especially at holiday times.

Solving the problem of competing oven-needing foods is doable with a little advance preparation. Pies can be cooked the day before. Rolls can be prepared and partially pre-baked (more on this later this week). But what about things that need to be cooked same day?

An appliance that can be used to your advantage here is your Crock Pot. With stuffing, however, I really like the crispy bread edges that you can only get in the oven. So I compromise: early in the day, before I put the turkey in the oven, I bake my stuffing at 400°F for 30 minutes, ensuring perfectly crispy edges. I then transfer the stuffing to my crock pot, set it on the lowest heat possible, and keep it warm in the crock pot while the turkey cooks. If you are not making a huge amount of stuffing, some oval casserole dishes will fit directly into the bottom of a large crock pot. If not, just scoop the stuffing into the crock pot, trying to keep the crisp top edges on the top in the crock pot as well.

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This is a pretty standard bread stuffing recipe, with the addition of roasted garlic and dried cranberries. I love the contrast between the smoky flavor of the roasted garlic and the sweet tang of the cranberries. Need help roasting garlic: click through to How To . . . Roast Garlic. It is pretty simple.

You can also add mushrooms, but I usually leave them out to appease my Mushroom-Hating-Children. Occasionally, however, I will chop them finely in the food processor, and then no one is the wiser.

You can use store-bought bread cubes, or make your own (highly recommended). Cube several different varieties of bread: white, wheat, rye, English muffins, bagels—all those ends that no one wants to eat. Spread in a single layer on large baking pans. If you have the time, and the humidity is not too high, just leave them sitting on the counter for 2-3 days to dry out. Stir them around occasionally. Be careful though: these sandwich ends that no one wanted to eat yesterday become just like candy to little fingers when they are turned into bread cubes. So start with more bread than you think you will need. Also: the bread will shrink as it dries, so start with more fresh bread than the dried cubes called for in the recipe.

If you are short on time, dry them in the oven at a very low heat (200°F max), stirring often. It will take about 1 hour to dry the bread in the oven.

RECIPE:

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Roasted Garlic Stuffing

½ cup butter
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
1 cup sliced or finely chopped mushrooms, optional
1 head of garlic, roasted (about 10 cloves)  <see How To. . . Roast Garlic>
12-13 cups dry bread cubes
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 Tbs fresh sage, finely chopped or 1 tsp dried sage
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped or 1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp marjoram
1 ½ – 2 cups turkey or chicken broth
1 cup dried cranberries, optional

Sauté onion, celery and mushrooms in butter. Crush roasted garlic cloves and stir into skillet. Pour vegetables over bread cubes in a large bowl. Mix in seasonings. Stir in enough broth to moisten. Stir in cranberries, if desired. Place in a covered casserole dish and bake at 325°F for 1 hour (or 400°F for 30 minutes).

COOKING TIPS: Stuffing can be prepared the day before and refrigerated overnight. If oven room is a problem, cook stuffing early in the day (before you put the turkey in the oven) for 30 minutes at 400°F. Transfer stuffing to a crock-pot and heat on very low heat until serving time.

Yield: this makes a lot! About 15-20 good-sized servings

 

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