December 8, 2005 at 7:05 a.m.
In the month of December I seem to swing towards gift giving foods to friends and relatives. Perhaps that’s because I do a lot of that type of thing and from the response I get, they would be disappointed if they didn’t get a jar of triple-berry jam, some type of nut mixture or a snack mix to nibble on.
So, this week we’ll continue with cranberry recipes using dried cranberries as well as fresh or frozen.
This candy recipe is so easy to make and when put into a pretty tin makes a great gift for anyone.
1 c. pecan halves
1-20 oz. vanilla candy coating (vanilla bark), chopped into chunks
3/4 c. dried cranberries
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (parchment paper is available in a roll like plastic wrap or foil). Put pecans in a single layer on the paper. Bake at 325 degrees for 10-14 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring once. Put cookie sheet on a rack to cool pecans.
Melt candy coating in a micro-safe bowl in micro oven following package directions. Remove from micro, stir in pecans, cranberries and nutmeg.
Quickly spread mixture about 1/4-inch thick on cookie sheet. Refrigerate until cool; break into 1-1/2 pieces.
Store in tightly covered container. You don’t have to keep it in the fridge. I would hide it before family members get into it and it’s gone before you intended to use it as a gift or whatever. Don’t hide it too good or you won’t remember where it is––trust me.
You know about apple butter––how about . . .
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. canned, jellied or whole berry cranberry sauce
chopped pecans, optional
Whip butter in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy, using an electric mixer on high speed. Add cranberry sauce and mix on medium speed until thoroughly combined. Turn into a small jar; sprinkle with pecans. Cover and refrigerate up to a month.
Best if served at room temperature. Serve with toasted English muffins, bagels or on waffles and pancakes. Makes 1 cup.
Do you like the flavor of sweet and sour? We do and this sauce is very good with pork or chicken.
CRANBERRY SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE
1/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. whole cranberry sauce
1/2 c. pineapple juice
1/4 c. cider vinegar
1-1/2 T. soy sauce (I use lite.)
1 T. cornstarch
1/4 c. pineapple juice
In a medium saucepan, combine first five ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Combine cornstarch and pineapple juice; stir into cranberry mixture. Cook and stir constantly for one minute until thickened. Serve as a sauce for chicken or pork.
NOTE: When I make a sweet sour pork recipe, I add the sauce at the end of the cooking time.
Makes about 2 cups.
This is a dessert with shortbread crust and a fluffy, creamy cranberry filling. A light ending to a holiday meal.
1 c. crushed shortbread cookies
1/2 c. finely chopped almonds
2 T. sugar
1/4 c. butter or margarine, melted
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (Knox)
2 T. cold water
3 egg whites
1/8 t. salt
1 c. sugar
1 T. frozen orange concentrate, thawed
2 c. finely chopped fresh cranberries (can use thawed frozen berries)
1 c. whipping cream, whipped (don’t use whipped topping––too sweet)
In small bowl, combine all crust ingredients; blend well. Save out 1/4 c. crumbs for topping. Press rest of mixture evenly in the bottom of ungreased 9-inch square pan; refrigerate.
In small saucepan, soften gelatin in cold water; stir over low heat until dissolved. Remove from heat.
In a non-plastic large bowl, beat egg whites with salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Add gelatin and orange juice concentrate; blend gently. Fold in cranberries, then whipped cream.
Gently pour over crust. Sprinkle with 1/4 c. crumbs. Refrigerate until set, about four hours. Makes 9 servings.
Another easy-to-make dessert you might like. We do.
2 c. fresh cranberries
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. margarine, melted
1 quart vanilla ice cream
Spray 8-inch pie plate or square pan with non-stick spray.
Put cranberries in pie plate or pan. Sprinkle with sugar and nuts.
In small bowl, beat egg well, adding the 1/2 c. sugar gradually. Beat until foamy. Add flour and margarine; beat until thoroughly blended. Pour over berries.
Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Crust should be golden brown.
Serve warm in sauce dishes with ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream or whipped topping. Makes 6 servings.
I should have mentioned this cranberry tip in the last column I wrote on cranberries regarding the use of frozen berries in recipes. If you have frozen cranberries in the bag, I hope you didn’t wash them first. It’s best to freeze them just as they are and when you’re ready to use them, quickly rinse them in cold water, drain and cut them as the recipe says to do.
Thought for the day: The first hour of waking is the rudder that guides the whole day.
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