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Cooking with Cranberries

Updated on January 2, 2017
J Schatzel profile image

J. Schatzel works in agricultural/occupational medicine in rural upstate NY and has a Masters degree in history.

The Wonderful World of Cranberries!

While the following is by no means a complete list of recipes using cranberries, it is an overview of the recipes that I have found the most success with after much experimentation and recipe alteration. Cranberries are often associated with Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday meals, however they can be used in so many great dishes, all year long!

Cranberry Sauce: Mix 2 cups fresh cranberries, 1 1/3 cup sugar, 1 apple (peeled and diced), 1 tablespoon fresh orange zest, 1/4 cup apple juice, and 1 tablespoons lemon juice in a saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until sugar is dissolved. Simmer 8 minutes longer, until cranberries rupture. Stir in ¼ cup orange juice. Remove from heat, col. Chill 1 hour before serving. I love this on a Turkey sandwich with leftover sliced turkey!

Bread Pudding: whisk 3 cups milk, 1 ½ cup heavy cream, ¾ cup sugar, 5 eggs, 1 ½ teaspoon lemon zest, 1 ½ teaspoon kosher coarse salt, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Fold in 5 cups sliced baguette or bagels, and 1 ½ cup cranberries. Let stand to soak for 45 minutes. Butter a deep dish pie plate or similarly sized baking dish, and pour in bread mixture. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover, and cook 15 minutes longer, until slightly browned and pudding is set. (You could use blueberries, raspberries, diced peaches, or other fruit instead of cranberries, but I like this version the best!)

Lemon Muffins: Mix 2 cups whole wheat flour, ¾ cup sugar, 2 tablespoons ground flax seed, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 2 eggs, 1 cup milk, ½ cup unsweetened applesauce, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon canola oil, 1 teaspoons of lemon zest, and 1 ½ cup halved fresh cranberries. Pour batter into greased muffin pan, filling cups 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees, for 20 minutes until a knife comes out clean. Cool in muffin pan 10 minutes, before removing to wire rack to finish cooling. You could use dried cranberries instead of fresh, without having to halve them if you don’t have fresh berries on hand. This recipe is also excellent using blueberries!

Oatmeal cookies: Mix 2 cups flour, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 3 tablespoons milk, 2 eggs, 2 sticks butter (softened), 1 cup light brown sugar (packed), ½ cup white sugar, 3 cups old-fashioned oats, 1 teaspoon grated orange peel, and 1 cup dried cranberries. Chill dough for at least 2 hours. Shape dough into 2 tablespoon balls, and place 3 inches apart on parchment paper lined baking sheets. Press with the bottom of a coffee mug to slightly smush the cookies. Bake at 350 degrees for 16 minutes, until golden. Remove sheet of parchment paper from the pan and slide the whole thing onto wire rack to cool, so that bottoms don’t burn on pan. You can substitute quick cooking oats for the old fashioned, but need to reduce the baking time to 14 minutes.

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken: place small yellow onion (diced) in the bottom of a slow cooker. Mix 1 cup French dressing, 1 envelope of dried onion soup mix, and 2 cups of whole-berry cranberry sauce. Place 4 chicken breasts (skinless, boneless) over onion in slow cooker. Pour cranberry mixture over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours until chicken is cooked through and tender. (You can cook for 3-4 hours on high, but I find the chicken is more tender when cooked at the lower temperature for the longer time). Serve garnished with toasted slivered almonds!

Thanksgiving Casserole: Grease an 8-inch baking dish. Spoon in 2 cups leftover stuffing, cover with 1 pound (about 4 cups) leftover cooked (chopped) turkey. Combine 1/4 cup Mayonnaise and 3/4 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce, and spread over turkey. Mix ½ cup Mayonnaise, 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes, and 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Spread potato mixture evenly over cranberry layer. Top with 2 more cups of leftover stuffing. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, until heated through. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. I used to make this for my (picky eater alert!) husband and I for Thanksgiving when we were first married, as we would go to visit family for Thanksgiving dinner, and have none of our own leftovers! I’d cook a 1 lb turkey breast to use in this recipe, a box of stuffing, and some instant mashed potatoes. He was none the wiser! Now I make it once in a while especially in the winter time, not just at Thanksgiving!

Scones: Mix 2 cups flour, ¼ cup brown sugar (packed), 1 tablespoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ cup butter, 1 cup fresh cranberries (chopped), 1/3 cup white sugar, 2 teaspoons lemon zest, ½ cup chopped walnuts, ¾ cup half-and half, and 1 egg. Form dough into 2 6-inch wide circles. Cut each circle into 6 wedges. Place wedges on a greased baking sheet, and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, until golden brown. I make these to bring into the office every once in a while, and they are a huge hit!

Bread: Mix 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ¾ cup orange juice, 1 tablespoon orange zest, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce, 1 egg, 1 ½ cup fresh cranberries, and ½ cup chopped pecans. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes, until a knife comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes before removing to cool on wire rack. This is an amazing, moist bread!

Special Thanks

Special Thanks to my husband, for serving as my official recipe taste-tester!
Special Thanks to my husband, for serving as my official recipe taste-tester!

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