It must be September. It seems like overnight the pumpkin and pumpkin spice stuff has overtaken the shelves. Seriously, the whole pumpkin spice thing is getting out of hand. Last year I saw pumpkin spice flavored dental floss. Whats next pumpkin spice flavored tooth paste?
I am going to do my best to combat the pumpkin spice craziness by posting as many cranberry recipes as possible between now and Thanksgiving.
I am going to start the cranberry recipes with a simple recipe for energy balls. I made this recipe because I wanted something snacky but didn’t want to make too effort to get it. I wasn’t expecting much from them but they were surprisingly satisfying.
Cranberry Almond Energy Balls
From Cupcakes and Kale Chips
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup almonds
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until a thick paste forms. Use 1 teaspoon of the mixture form into balls. Store in an airtight container.
I was going to start a Whole 30 on March 1st. Then I realized St. Patrick’s day is on March 17th. I know for most people St. Patrick’s day isn’t that big of deal but for me, it’s almost as big as Christmas, as far as food goes. I always have my friends who like it, over for a traditional corned beef dinner with several different kinds of soda breads and desserts.
My passion for St. Patrick’s Day started the second time I went to college. I know you are thinking green beer and a night out at the bar. It couldn’t be further from that. My second trip to college, I got involved with a group of people on campus who volunteered at the Presentation sisters annual St. Patrick’s day block party. Yep, I am so cool I partied with the Nuns. It was a big community party with tons of stuff for the kids to take part in and tons of corned beef, cabbage and soda bread to eat.
The first year I volunteered, I was in the kitchen with the older ladies. I didn’t appreciate it as much then as I would now because I was a long way from wanting to learn how to cook at that point in my life. But one of my best food memories is entering that kitchen for the first time and seeing row after row of craggy, rustic, rough looking soda bread. I didn’t know what it was but it was so pretty and smelled so good. I got one taste and was hooked for life.
The second year, the Nuns discovered my secret talent of being able to make balloon sculpture and moved me into the room with the kids entertainment. I never got to go back to the kitchen again.
Cranberry Orange Soda Bread
Adapted From Kitchen Treaty
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 TBS sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 TBS cold butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup plus 6 TBS buttermilk
3 TBS lightly beaten egg
1/2 tsp orange zest
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the butter and use two knives to cut it into the flour until the butter is the size of rice. Add dried cranberries and stir well.
In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Lightly flour a cutting board. Turn out the dough and knead a minute or two, until it all comes together.
Shape into a round loaf. Cut an x across the top about 1/4 inch deep. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool on a rack.
Christmas is 13 days away. It’s time to start baking. The first Christmas treat I am making is a small loaf of quick bread to be the center of my Christmas eve treat plate.
Pumpkin Cranberry Bread
Adapted from Libby’s.com
¾ cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cloves or allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ cup sugar
1/4 cup pure pumpkin
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup oj or water
¼ cup fresh, frozen or dried cranberries
Pre heat the oven to350 degrees. Spray 2 5 inch x 3 inch loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, baking soda, salt and sugar. Mix well. In another bowl, combine the pumpkin, egg, canola oil, and oj or water. Mix well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just moistened. Fill each loaf pan half full. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 – 60 minutes.
Today was a totally wasted day and I am okay with that. I slept till noon which isn’t a bad thing considering I usually only sleep about 3-4 hours a night lately. I spent the rest of the day making a small dent in the tower of movies I bought on black Friday. The only time I got off the couch was to make myself a treat of cranberry apricot bread. It was a totally useless, totally lazy, totally awesome way to spend the last Sunday in November.
Cranberry Apricot Bread
½ cup flour
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup dried apricots, chopped
2 TBS pecans, chopped (optional)
1 large egg
1 TBS milk
1 TBS melted butter
¼ tsp fresh lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 5×3 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and baking powder. Add the dried fruit and nuts. Stir to coat with flour. In another bowl, combine the egg, milk, melted butter and lemon zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the loaf pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.
It just wouldn’t be the Holiday season if I didn’t post a few cranberry recipes. This year I am going with a condiment theme. Earlier this week I posted a savory recipe for cranberry mustard. Today I am going with a sweet application and giving you a recipe for cranberry butter. This isn’t cranberry sauce mixed with a stick of butter. It is a combination of cranberries and maple syrup that is cooked low and slow then pureed to a smooth, concentrated, sweet and tangy spread.
I use this spread on toast, in yogurt, on ice cream, on waffles and pancakes, in a lovely salad dressing and on a spoon while standing in front of the fridge. It is just that good. Head on over to Christina Lanes’ awesome blog, Dessert for Two for the recipe.
Note: I cut the recipe in half and got 4 four ounce jars of cranberry butter.