Cranberries with Bourbon

I have to subject you to one more Thanksgiving-ish recipe before I move on to other things. I saw the recipe for this cranberry sauce on The Kitchen Sink (another fabulous Chicago blogger), and trust me – you need to make this sauce. Cranberries have always been my favorite thing about Thanksgiving – Mom would make this great raw cranberry and orange zest relish that I always loved – so tart that it made the back of your jaw sting just a little. And really, we need to eat cranberries more than once a year – they’re a local and seasonal treat that can go far beyond being the sad sidekick for the Thanksgiving turkey.

This year, I wanted a cranberry dish that was a bit more mellow, so that it would go nicely on leftover turkey sandwiches – this recipe fit the bill perfectly. I added the zest and juice from a tangerine to the original recipe, and cut the sugar in half, as I still like a little pucker to my cranberries. And since Thanksgiving, I’ve made 2 more batches of the cranberries, as it has become my favorite topping for my morning bowl of steel cut oats.

Bourbon Maple Cranberries
Makes 2 cups, 1/4 cup per serving

Adapted from
Bon Apetit

1 package of fresh cranberries (12 oz)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sugar
juice of one small tangerine
zest from tangerine, peeled
2 T bourbon

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients except burbon in a small baking dish. Bake uncovered until cranberries are tender and sugar is dissolved, stirring once, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and stir in bourbon. Refrigerate cranberry sauce and serve however you like – on a turkey sandwich, on morning oatmeal, or by the spoonful! Will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.

88 cal per 1/4 cup serving, 0 cal from fat, 0g fat, 20g carbs, 2g fiber, 18g sugar

Roasted Cranberry Applesauce

You may begin to sense a theme here…I like nothing more than mixing up a bunch of ingredients and popping it in the oven to roast – that way you can just walk away for a bit, rather than standing at the stove stirring.

This one is a bit of a twist on the roasted applesauce posted over the weekend. I have always loved cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving – mom always makes a wonderfully tart raw cranberry-orange sauce that makes the back of my jaw twinge with tartness…and I still love it. But I also like cranberry sauce that is a bit easier on the palate. Most cranberry recipes have SO much sugar in them. I prefer to avoid the white stuff, so I wanted to make a sauce that was both healthier and tasty.

I used the natural sweetness of apples to take the edge off tart cranberries, a quarter cup of agave nectar for extra sweetness. Add a few spices, a splash of fresh squeezed orange juice, and pop it in the oven. The resulting sauce is a perfect balance of tart-sweet, with a spicy kick. This is the cranberry sauce that I’ll be bringing to Thanksgiving this year.

Apple Cranberry Sauce
Servings 10 (yields 5.5 cups)

1 Weight Watchers Point per half cup

8 small-medium apples, peeled, cored, cubed
3 cups fresh cranberries
Zest from 2 navel oranges
Juice from 2 navel oranges, about 1/2 cup
1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
1 T cinnamon
1 T ground ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
2 cinnamon sticks

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cubed apples and cranberries in a 9×13 pan. Grate orange zest over fruit, sprinkle with the cinnamon, ginger and allspice. Drizzle the agave nectar (or honey) over the fruit, and stir it all together. Pour in the orange juice. Place the cinnamon sticks down amongst the apples and juice.
  2. Bake for 30 minutes, stir, bake for another 30 minutes then remove from oven and allow to cool.

Note about Agave Nectar: You should be able to find agave nectar at Whole Foods, right next to the honey. Agave is made from the magical cactus that brings us tequila, and has a consistency like a thin honey, with a lighter flavor. The advantage of using agave is that it has a lower glycemic index, so it won’t give you the blood sugar spike of processed white sugar. It is also 1.25 times sweeter than an equivalent amount of sugar.