Likely from here through Christmas my posts will be pretty seasonal, but also more abundant. Hope you enjoy the plethora of holiday options!
Of all the dishes weighing down a typical Thanksgiving table, cranberry sauce is one of my favorites. I love all the more sour berries and a nice tart cranberry sauce is a lovely addition of color and flavor to my plate. As a kid I’d often take seconds and thirds just of cranberry sauce, and adult me is not much different. The perfect cranberry sauce is different for everyone, and the key to happiness is making it yourself so it’s just right. Maybe you’ve always been an out of the can sort of person (no judgements!) but I encourage you to try the from-scratch version this year.
Cranberry sauce is one of those things I’m absurdly picky about, and it’s rare that someone else’s recipe really strikes my fancy. I need all the cinnamon and none of the orange, thick and chunky and not too sweet. I’m not sure why orange became the traditional flavor pairing, but I personally think it too easily overpowers the rest of the flavors.
Inspired by a pie last year (check back in two weeks for that), I tried utilizing apple instead. It complements the tart cranberry perfectly, without becoming a prominent flavor. Instead of it being an obvious addition, the apple blends more smoothly into the whole profile, adding a little something without necessarily being able to pinpoint it.
I added a smidge of almond extract to round out the holiday experience, but you can certainly use vanilla if you prefer. Almond is a nice twist on tradition without straying too far from comfy, and I often utilize it in fruit pies in lieu of (or addition to) vanilla extract.
This is definitely my new go-to cranberry sauce recipe, and I’m already looking forward to making it again in a few weeks. It’s excellent both chilled and warm, resulting it an excellent make-ahead recipe. Large enough to share or to enjoy copious leftovers, so long as everyone doesn’t serve themselves the same heaping amount I tend towards.
If for some reason you’re hesitant on the apple, or want to keep to a more traditional flavor, just leave that out. It’ll still be an excellent spiced cranberry sauce with a little almond boost.
Apple Cranberry Sauce
Makes about 2.5 cups
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 medium apple, grated
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp cinnamon (or one stick), to taste
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp almond extract (or vanilla)
- In a medium saucepan, stir together cranberries, apple, sugar, and water.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to a simmer.
- Stir in cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg, and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Cranberries should be a mixture of burst and whole.
- Remove from heat and discard the cinnamon stick.
- Stir in almond extract and, if desired, use a fork or a silly egg salad masher to mash the cranberries to your desired texture. (I like mine chunky but all burst, so I mash mine pretty well.)
- Allow to cool briefly before serving, optionally garnished with sliced almonds.