Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Cinnamon Bourbon Cranberry Sauce

The cranberry. Know what I like about that festive little Christmas red berry that brightens the holidays? Everything.

The tiny garnet orbs are tart little gems (they DO remind me of garnets and rubies!) that help us celebrate both Thanksgiving and Christmas by way of sauces, jellies, desserts, breads, salads and in stuffings, roasts, chops, stews and such, too. So versatile, they do double duty for both sweet and savory dishes equally well.

When the kids were small, we used to string fresh cranberries to decorate our Christmas tree. It kept their little fingers busy while the resultant loops and scallops of red were gorgeous on our tree! Best of all, the kids really felt a part of making our holiday special. Now, everyone's too busy to sit and string cranberries for hours. I miss those times. 

Kimber may not be stringing cranberries these days, but she is the chief cranberry cooker in our family. Every year she comes up with something new in a cranberry sauce to brighten our table and our tastebuds. This year, her sweet and tart little Thanksgiving number was soooooo good, we think it was the best cranberry sauce rendition ever. Really...who doesn't love a kick of bourbon in their cranberry sauce?!

Christmas menu planning has already begun in our house...have you started your next holiday menu yet? Maybe you and your own family might just enjoy this cinnamon-y, orange-y, slightly boozy, sweet and tart cranberry sauce just as much as we did.   

Cinnamon Bourbon Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/2 C water
  • 2 sticks cinnamon, use nice and fresh sticks that are the 4-5" size
  • 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries (Did you know the test for a fresh cranberry is to drop it on the counter? If it bounces, it's fresh!)
  • 1/4 C bourbon - Buffalo Trace in this case
  • 1 orange, both zest and juice - zest the outside of the orange first and then juice the naked orange halves
  • 1/2 C golden raisins

In a large, deep, heavy bottomed pot, stir together the water and sugar, add the cinnamon sticks and bring to a boil. Immediately lower heat to medium and let simmer until the mixture develops a medium caramel color. Stir occasionally until it comes up to color - maybe 15 minutes, more or less - then add cranberries, bourbon, raisins, orange juice and zest. It may be a little difficult at first, but stir until mixture is smooth and comes to a boil. 

Immediately reduce the heat to low and cook until the cranberries have popped and the sauce has thickened. Take out the cinnamon sticks carefully with tongs so you don't burn your delicate fingers! Let cool to room temp before serving. You can make this a day or two ahead.

NOTE: Yeah...this makes amazing ice cream topping!

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