Fresh & Festive—Celebrate the season with America’s Original Superfruit
December 2022 Issue
by Lindsay Gifford
Recipes, Photography and Information by US Cranberries
and The Cranberry Marketing Committee
Tangy and tart, there’s one fruit that is synonymous with Christmas—cranberries! From festive decor to holiday dessert, cranberries are a fresh and colorful addition to holiday entertaining. Brightly hued, these tiny fruits pack-a-punch—they are considered “America’s Original Superfruit®”
This month, we teamed up with US Cranberries and The Cranberry Marketing Committee to learn more about these dynamic delights and bring you festive cranberry favorites—both food and decor—to brighten your season this year. They are a versatile, nutrient-dense fruit that can be easily incorporated into sweet and savory dishes—and floral arrangements and wreaths, too!
As one of three commonly cultivated fruits native only to North America, cranberries are an important crop with roots deep in American history. More than 1,100 small family farmers—many of them fourth, fifth or even sixth generation—produce U.S. cranberries on 40,800 acres. Cranberries are grown across the United States mostly in the leading production states of Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington.
Cranberries are renown for their health benefits. In fact, today, researchers continually explore cranberry’s potential effects on urinary tract, gut and oral health, cardiovascular disease, cancer, glycemic response and some infections. Plus, cranberry juice is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins C and E.
Growing and harvesting cranberries is a unique process. Cranberries grow on low-lying vines in impermeable layered beds known as “bogs” or “marshes.” Cranberries are harvested in the fall, generally from mid-September through mid-November. There are approximately 46,000 cranberry plants per acre and more than 100 varieties of cranberries that grow in North America. Some cranberry beds have the same vines that were planted more than 100 years ago.
Did You Know? Cranberries have four air chambers inside them, which cause them to float to the surface for wet harvesting. This also makes them ideal for floating decor—like water-filled votives. And, a fresh, ripe cranberry will bounce when you drop it.
Now, that you’re “in the know,” it’s time to crush this season with all things cranberry. To enjoy recipes and cranberry DIYs, visit www.uscranberries.com. Now, turn the page for our selection of delicious recipes that will tickle you pink this holiday season.
Baked Brie with Chipotle Cranberry Sauce
1 (16 oz) round Brie
2 cups whole Cranberries, rinsed
½ cup Water
½ cup Sugar
1 small dried Chipotle pepper, de-seeded and minced
2 Tbsps Honey
Zest from one Lemon
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the brie on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in the pre-heated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until soft. Meanwhile, place the cranberries, water, sugar, and chipotle pepper in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, until the berries have softened and the sauce is thick.
Top the baked brie with the honey, followed by the cranberry mixture and lemon zest. Serve with an assortment of nuts, bread, and sliced apples for dipping.
Source: The Cranberry Marketing Committee and Anetta Simpson of The Wanderlust Kitchen
Savory Blue Cheese Cranberry Scones
2½ cups Whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Baking powder
½ tsp Salt
7 Tbsps coconut Oil
1 cup Buttermilk
½ cup crumbled Blue cheese
¾ cup fresh Cranberries
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using your hands, mix in coconut oil, pressing together flour mixture and oil until it’s completely incorporated and forms a sandy texture. Slowly pour in buttermilk and mix together until incorporated. Stir in blue cheese and cranberries. Form dough into a large ball. Turn out onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet or baking stone. Press the top to flatten slightly. Using a sharp knife, cut dough in half, then cut each half into 4 triangles. Separate the scones on the baking sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden.
Source: CMC & Rachael Wallace Hartley, RD, LD, CDE by Avocado a Day Nutrition
Cranberry Dark and Stormy
Cranberry Simple Syrup:
1 cup fresh Cranberries
3 Tbsps Honey, agave, or pure maple syrup
¼ tsp ground Cinnamon
½ tsp pure Vanilla extract
Dark and Stormy (per cocktail):
Ginger Beer 1.5 oz dark Rum (I like spiced)
2 to 3 Tbsps Cranberry simple syrup
Prepare the Cranberry Simple Syrup: Add all of the ingredients for the cranberry syrup to a saucepan and bring to a full boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle boil, simmer, and cook until cranberries have softened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool. Once cool enough to handle, strain the cranberry mixture through a fine mesh strainer, pressing the pulp into the strainer to maximize the amount of syrup you get out. Discard the pulp and refrigerate the syrup until ready to use.
Prepare the Dark and Stormys: Fill glasses with ice and fill most of the way up with ginger beer. Carefully pour in the cranberry syrup, followed by the dark rum. Serve with fresh cranberries and enjoy.
Source: The Cranberry Marketing Committee and Julia Mueller of The Roasted Root
Cranberry Mule Cocktail
Cranberry Mule Cocktail
½ cup Water
½ cup Sugar
1 cup whole fresh Cranberries
2½ cups Vodka
2 cups fresh Cranberries, halved
To make cranberry syrup: Add ingredients to a small saucepan and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes, until cranberries are soft and have started to pop. Strain and reserve liquid. Use a spoon to press cranberries in a sieve to save as much syrup as possible. Refrigerate for up to two weeks. Yield ½ cup, makes enough for 4 cocktails.
To make cranberry-infused vodka: Add sliced cranberries and vodka to a jar with a lid.
Shake to combine.
Let sit in fridge for 3-5 days before using. Shake daily.
Strain to use in cocktail.
To mix cocktail: Add ice to a copper mug or glass of choice.
Pour cranberry vodka, lime juice and cranberry syrup into glass over ice.
Top with ginger beer.
Stir to combine.
Garnish with rosemary and fresh cranberries.
Source: Carlene Thomas, RDN, LD, Healthfully Ever After
Cranberry Cheesecake Galette
For the cranberry sauce:
1/2 cup Sugar
1/3 cup Water
8 oz fresh Cranberries
1 small sprig fresh Rosemary
For the galette:
2 (8 z) pkgs Cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup Sugar
2 Eggs, divided
1 tsp Vanilla
1 (14 oz) box refrigerated Pie crusts (2 crusts)
1 Tbsp Heavy cream or water
In small saucepan, combine sugar, water and salt. Bring to boil. Stir in cranberries and rosemary. Cook until cranberries have popped and broken down and the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes. Cool at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Unroll both pie crusts into a flat circle and lay on prepared sheets. Separate egg whites from egg yolks and set whites aside. In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, or in a bowl with a hand mixer, whip cream cheese, sugar, yolks, and vanilla until smooth.
Divide cream cheese filling between the center of both pie crusts, leaving a 1-inch border around the outside. Drop spoonfuls of cranberry sauce on each, using about 1/2 cup cranberry sauce per galette. Gently drag knife through cranberry sauce to create a swirl pattern. Use a light touch and be careful not to over-swirl the filling. Fold 2-inch segments of pie crust up at a time to create crust. You should have about 8 folds per galette. In a small bowl, whisk together egg whites and cream or water. Brush on folded galette crust. Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is heated through, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cut each tart into 6 wedges.
Source: The Cranberry Marketing Committee and Meggan Hill of Culinary Hill
Duck Confit with Orange-Cranberry Relish
4 Duck legs (rinsed and patted dry)
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp Black pepper
1/2 tsp dried Rosemary
1 (12 oz) bag fresh or frozen Cranberries
1-2 whole heads of Garlic, halved
2 Oranges, zest and juice (about 1/2 cup of juice)
2 Tbsps Maple syrup
2 tsp Chili flakes
1 Tbsp fresh Rosemary, minced
2-3 sprigs Rosemary
Pat the duck legs dry with a paper towel. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper and rosemary. Sprinkle duck generously with mixture. Place duck legs on a pan, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2xe4 hours. The next day, preheat oven to 325°F. Place duck legs, fat side down, in an ovenproof skillet, in a single layer (you may have to use 2 skillets or cook them in batches). Heat duck legs on the stovetop over medium-high heat until fat starts to render and skin turns a deep golden brown, about 20 minutes. Then, carefully flip duck legs over, skin side up, cover pan with aluminum foil and transfer skillet to the oven.
While the duck is in the oven, combine the cranberries, orange juice and zest, maple syrup, chili flakes salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside. Roast legs for 2 hours, covered, then remove skillet from oven and transfer duck legs to a cutting board or plate. Place skillet back on the stove over medium heat. Add garlic head(s), cut side down, to the pan, and cook undisturbed for 5 minutes, until beginning to brown and caramelize; take garlic head(s) out and set aside. Add the minced rosemary to the pan and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the cranberry mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat off and nestle the duck back in, add the garlic head(s), cut side up, the rosemary sprigs on top and slide the pan back into the oven, uncovered.
Continue roasting until duck is golden brown, fork tender and can be easily pulled from
the bone, 1 hour more. Remove from the oven and enjoy.
Source: Developed for CMC by Chef Daniela Gerson
Cranberry Rhubarb Crisp
Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 40 mins | Serves: 8
For the filling:
1/2 cup Sugar
3 cups chopped fresh Rhubarb, 1/2 inch pieces
3 Tbsps Cornstarch
2 cups Cranberries, fresh or frozen
For the topping:
1/3 cup Walnuts or pecans, chopped; optional
1 cup rolled Oats
1/3 cup All-purpose flour
1/3 cup Brown sugar
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Butter, softened
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the rhubarb, cranberries, sugar, and cornstarch in a large cast iron skillet (or baking dish). Stir everything well to combine. Prepare the topping: Combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, walnuts, and softened butter in a large bowl. Mix well. Spread the topping over the filling in the skillet. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until topping is golden and crisp and the filling is soft. Let cool slightly, then enjoy as-is or top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Cranberry Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup Peanut butter
2 large Eggs
1/2 cup Sugar
1/3 cup Brown sugar
2/3 cup Almond flour
1 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup dried Cranberries
1/2 cup chopped Walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter, eggs, sugar, and brown sugar. Whisk together until well combined. Add the almond flour, baking soda, and salt to the bowl. Stir until all ingredients are well combined. Fold in the cranberries and walnuts.
Using a cookie scoop or heaping tablespoon, portion the dough onto the baking sheets. Press down with a fork in a criss cross pattern. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are turning a light golden brown. Let the cookies cool completely on the pan, then enjoy.
Notes: The dough will be moist and sticky, this is normal for the recipe. If your fork is getting stuck while pressing down the cookie dough, slide it along the dough rather than lifting straight up.
Spiced Layer Cake with Cranberry Filling
Prep Time: 1 hr | Cook Time: 45 mins
2 large Eggs
3 Tbsps Vegetable or canola oil
11/2 cups All purpose flour
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted Butter, room temperature
3/4 tsp ground Allspice
1/4 tsp ground Nutmeg
1/2 cup Buttermilk room temperature
1/8 tsp ground Cloves
1 tsp Baking powder
Zest of one Orange
1/4 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Kosher salt
3/4 cup Sugar
2 Tbsps Sugar
11/2 cups fresh Cranberries
1 tsp Vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 cups powdered Sugar
8 oz Cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted Butter room temperature
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 cup fresh Cranberries, for decorating
Cake: Butter an 8 x 3 inch round cake pan and line with parchment paper. Heat the oven to 350°F and move a rack to the lower third of the oven. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. With a mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl with a spatula halfway through the mixing. Turn the mixer down to low and add eggs one at a time, scraping and mixing for 30 seconds after each addition until emulsified. In a measuring cup, combine oil and buttermilk. Scoop the flour mixture into the mixer bowl and mix on low until mostly incorporated. Pour in buttermilk and oil mixture and continue mixing on low to incorporate. Scrape the bowl and stir to ensure no flour pockets remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake 45 minutes on lowered rack. Check for doneness by sticking a wooden skewer through the top of the cake and ensure it comes out clean. Also, the cake will be golden brown on top and spring back when touched and will have pulled away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Run an offset spatula around the edges and turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and let cool completely, about an hour.
Filling: While the cake is baking, make the cranberry filling. Add the cranberries and sugar to a small pot with 2 tablespoons of water. Bring to a simmer on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Simmer cranberries until they have released their juices and slumped, about 3 minutes. Transfer the cranberry filling to a small bowl and stir in vanilla extract. The filling will thicken as it cools. Make sure to cool completely before using.
Frosting: While the cake is cooling, make the frosting. Beat unsalted butter and cream cheese on medium with a mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping half way through. Place a fine mesh strainer over the bowl and add powdered sugar, pressing it through the sifter. Add kosher salt and vanilla extract and mix on low until incorporated. Scrape the bowl, increase speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy.
Assembly: Once the cake has cooled, use a serrated knife to slice the cake into two even rounds. Set the bottom layer on a cake plate. Spread the cooled cranberry filling on top in an even layer. Spread 3/4 cup frosting over the cranberry filling. Turn the second round upside down so that the top of the cake is the flat, sliced side. Press down gently and check that the assembled cake is even and level. Crumb coat the cake by spreading a thin layer of frosting on the sides and the top of the cake. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill until the frosting is dry to the touch, about 15 minutes. Remove the cake and use remaining frosting to spread another layer of frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with fresh cranberries. Slice the cake into 12 equal slices and serve. Cover leftover cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The cake can be fully assembled 1 day in advance and leftovers will last 3 to 4 days.
Cranberries make beautiful holiday decor.
For how-tos for these and other DIYs visit uscranberries.com
Savory Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash
2 Acorn squash
1 yellow Onion, chopped
1 cup Celery, chopped
1 cup Quinoa
1 cup fresh Cranberries
2 tsps fresh Rosemary, chopped
2 tsps fresh Thyme, chopped
2 tsps fresh Sage, chopped
2 cups Vegetable broth
½ cup Pecans, chopped
½ cup crumbled Feta cheese Olive oil, as needed
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut acorn squash in half (either lengthwise or crosswise, whichever is easiest depending on the shape of your squash; it’s also helpful to cut a sliver off the bottom so the squash sits flat), and scoop out seeds with a spoon. Place the squash, cut side up, on a baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes, until fork tender. Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a pot or sauté pan that has a fitted lid. Add the onion and celery and sauté for about 5 minutes, until just tender. Add the quinoa, cranberries, herbs, and vegetable broth. Cover, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and cook until the quinoa is cooked through and has absorbed all the liquid, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in the pecans. Spoon the quinoa mixture into the center of the squash halves (you might have extra, depending on the size of your squash) and sprinkle with feta cheese. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is slightly browned and everything is heated through.
Source: The Cranberry Marketing Committee and Anne Mauney, MPH, RD of FANNEtastic Food
Pickled Cranberries & Goat Cheese Crostini
1 cup Apple cider vinegar
2 cups Water
1 Tbsp kosher Salt
2 Tbsps Sugar
1 Tbsp whole Mustard seed
1 tsp ground Cumin
2 cups whole fresh Cranberries
Quart-sized jar with lid
1 whole grain baguette, approximately 2' long
8 oz pkg mild Goat cheese
2 cups pickled Cranberries
6 sprigs of fresh Thyme, cut to garnish
To make pickled cranberries: Add vinegar and water to a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Stir in salt and sugar until dissolved, and bring liquid to a boil. Once boiling, turn off heat and remove pan from heat. Add spices and fresh cranberries to quart-sized jar. Pour vinegar mixture over cranberries. Close lid and shake. Cool and refrigerate overnight. Invert the jar periodically to evenly cover cranberries with liquid.
To make crostini: To build crostini, slice baguette into approximately 1-inch thick rounds, toast baguette slices if desired. Spread cut side with goat cheese and top with a strained spoonful of cranberries. Top with fresh thyme.
Source: Carlene Thomas, RDN, LD