Cranberries Aren't Just For Sauce Anymore

During this festive holiday season, when you think of cranberries, your mind probably goes straight to that yummy sauce that's served at Thanksgiving dinner. But if you buy an extra bag or two of the tart fruit, you can be eating cranberries several different ways throughout this whole holiday season.

Cranberry orange muffins

I love this time of year. Not because holiday decorations are starting to come out, or people are talking about turkey and pumpkin pie, but because this is when those yummy cranberry muffins are finally available at all your local coffee shop. I've always loved cranberry muffins. That tart burst of flavor coupled with the sweet bread surrounding it just screams fall to me. The only problem with the muffins, much like the holiday season, is they're only around for a short period of time. But a few years ago I started thinking... why must I limit myself to only eating cranberry muffins in the fall? Why couldn't I eat them year-round? It turns out, I could.

Simply buying a few extra bags of the tart fruit and freezing them allowed me to have muffins or pie or even cranberry sauce whenever I wanted. Having those few extra bags of cranberries also made me realize I didn't just have to limit myself to muffins and sauce. I could make pies, tarts or even cute little puff pastries. So if you're the one who's been assigned to make cranberry sauce this year, pick up an extra bag or two of the delicious fruit and wow your friends or family with these exciting alternatives as well.

Cranberry orange muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup cranberries, sliced

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until they're light and creamy, about two minutes.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture. Alternate with the milk ending with the flour mixture.
  5. Mix in the orange juice and zest until just combined.
  6. Fold in the cranberries.
  7. Fill the muffin tin and bake for 35 minutes or until the muffins are a nice golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes and serve.

Cranberry apricot puffs

From Family Circle

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
  • Powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray eight muffin cups with cooking spray.
  2. In a large saucepan combine the cranberries, apricots, raisins, sugar, rum and salt. Bring to a boil and boil for six minutes, stirring occasionally, until cranberries burst and sauce starts to thicken. Scrape into a large bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  3. Unfold pastry sheets and cut into four equal pieces. Gently press middle of one pastry square into bottom and up side of prepared muffin cup. Repeat until all eight cups have pastry sheets in them. Fill each pastry cup with 1/4 cup cranberry mixture. Fold pastry over tops.
  4. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool in the cups on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove puffs from cups to rack and cool for another five minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Cranberry apple pie

Ingredients:

  • 5 apples, peeled, cored and chopped (Granny Smith or Gala)
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package (2 sheets) refrigerated pie crust

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll out one sheet of pie crust and gently press into a 9-inch pie plate; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine the apples, cranberries, sugar and lemon juice; set aside.
  3. In a small bowl sift together the flour, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Toss the flour mixture with the apple mixture until fruit is coated. Transfer the filling into prepared pie crust.
  4. Roll out second pie crust and drape over pie. Tuck the excess under the rim of the bottom pie shell and press together to seal. Using a small, sharp knife cut a few slits in the top to let steam escape.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes. Cover the rim with foil to prevent overbrowning and bake for another 30 minutes or until apples are tender. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and serve.

More cranberry recipes

Thanksgiving alternatives to can-shaped cranberry sauce
More than sauce: Cranberry recipes
Cranberry pumpkin bread

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