DAY 7: Cranberry Orange Cookies
Dried cranberries and orange zest give a nice tartness to this Christmas cookie. The cookies are rolled in orange sugar before baking for an extra zing!
DAY 8: Cranberry Orange Bread
Another non-cookie recipe, but this comes at the request of my brother-in-law. Now he just needs to buy himself a plane ticket from Seattle to Baltimore so that he can eat some with us!
Cranberries and oranges are one of my favorite holiday flavor combinations. Which is why I also love these Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Cookies:
Cranberry Orange Bread makes a great neighbor gift, especially when you find these adorable small loaf pans in the dollar section of Michaels!
½ cup butter
½ cup sugar
½ brown sugar
¼ cup orange juice
1 tsp grated orange peel
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour, divided
2 tsp baking powder
¼tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ cup buttermilk (or additional orange juice)
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
(do not thaw cranberries before chopping)
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans, optional
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour (or use baking Pam): 1 large loaf pan, or 3-4 small loaf pans, or 6 mini loaf pans.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Mix in ¼ cup orange juice, orange peel and vanilla. Add 1 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the bowl and mix until just combined. Mix in buttermilk (or additional orange juice). Mix in remaining 1 cup flour until just combined. Fold in cranberries and nuts.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pans.
Baking times (check doneness with a toothpick in center of loaf):
Large loaf pan: 60-80 minutes
Small loaf pans: 45-60 minutes
Mini loaf pans: 25-35 minutes
**NOTE: If you use frozen cranberries, baking times will be on the higher end of the range. Cover bread with foil if the top begins to brown before center is cooked.
Cool for 10 minutes in pan and then remove to a rack to cool. Cool completely before slicing.
For Brian’s birthday a couple of weeks ago we had this wonderful cheesecake. It is a very creamy cheesecake flavored with lemon and orange zest and juice. You can use blood oranges or regular naval oranges. Lime would also be a great flavor, instead of the lemon. The recipe comes from Aimée Bourque, who is the editor of Simple Bites and author of the blog Under the High Chair.
The original recipe did not have you bake the cheesecake in a water bath, but I did because I think it helps the cheesecake cook more uniformly, and reduces cracks on the top of the cheesecake. To prepare your pan for a waterbath, wrap the springform pan in a double layer of foil. Or: this time I did one layer of foil and then put the pan in an oven-safe bag (the kind used for roasting turkeys). Place wrapped pan in a larger roasting pan and add hot, almost boiling, water to the roasting pan to a level about halfway up the outside of the springform pan.
If you are nervous about moving a pan full of boiling water: pull the oven rack out slightly from the hot oven. Place roasting pan on the oven rack, place springform pan in the roasting pan, and then add boiling water to the roasting pan. Carefully push oven rack back into the oven.
Just out of the oven-No Cracks!
A citrus zest-spiked sour cream makes a perfect topping and hides any imperfections that develop in the top of the cheesecake as the cheesecake cools.
I served this cheesecake with fresh blueberries and this fabulous homemade Blueberry Syrup.
It is flavorful enough that it could also be served on its own without any topping.
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 ½ Tbs granulated sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
3 pkg (24 oz) cream cheese
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup sour cream
Zest and juice of one lime or small lemon (wash before zesting)
Zest and juice of half an orange (wash before zesting; remaining half will be used in topping)
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
Zest and juice of half an orange
6 Tbs granulated sugar
Place oven rack on the lowest level of the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F.
For the crust:
In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add melted butter and mix. Press onto the bottom of a nine-inch springform pan. Bake crust for 8-10 minutes until slightly golden. Cool. Wrap springform pan in a double layer of foil, or one layer of foil and then place in an oven bag (like the kind used for turkeys). Place springform pan in a larger roasting pan.
For the filling:
With a mixer, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add sour cream, citrus zest and juice. Mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until just incorporated.
Pour filling over crumb crust. Fill roasting pan (not springform pan!) with very hot (almost boiling) water to about 2-inches deep.
Bake cheesecake in the water bath for about 60 minutes. The cheesecake will have puffed significantly, and the middle will still be slightly jiggly. Remove pan from water bath and run a sharp knife around the sides, but do not remove ring. Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack on the counter.
For the topping:
Combine sour cream, orange zest and juice, and sugar together in a small bowl. Pour over slightly cooled cheesecake and let stand for half an hour at room temperature.
Cover cheesecake pan tightly with plastic wrap, taking care not to disturb the surface of the cheesecake. Chill for at least four hours or overnight.
Remove plastic wrap and lift off the outer edge of the spring form pan. If desired, slide a sharp knife under the crust and slide the cheesecake off the spring form base and onto a cake stand or serving platter.
Serve cheesecake alone, or topped with fresh berries or homemade blueberry syrup.