Cranberry Pecan Biscotti

Cranberry-Pecan Biscotti

Cranberry-Pecan Biscotti

Listen up folks!   It is a scientific fact that a beverage, whether it be coffee, tea, hot chocolate or milk, needs the perfect dunking cooking to go with it.

I took a poll among my friends with the question “would you rather have a graham cracker, a snickerdoodle, or cranberry pecan biscotti with your favorite beverage”?  Don’t ever let it be said that I’m afraid to ask the hard questions!   Biscotti was the overwhelming winner.  Although I have a sneaky suspicion that a frosted cinnamon roll would not be unwelcome either.

The winners….biscotti!

The winner….biscotti!

These are very gentle biscotti;  they are not going to fall apart and leave crumbs in the bottom of your cup or glass.  They are gently spiced with cinnamon and cloves, and they are made with whole wheat flour, so they are good for you.  In addition there’s the cranberries adding their vitamin C. and chopped pecans for some added crunch.  These are as much a cookie as they are a tiny package of warmth and comfort in the middle of what was this winter’s coldest temperatures.

Ahem, excuse me, but I wrote this over a month ago when it was still winter around here.  Don’t be misled, these are great any ole time you feel like having a cookie to munch on.

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CRANBERRY PECAN BISCOTTI

Yield:  Makes about 2 1/2 dozen biscottiIMG_8929

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamonIMG_8931
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 325*F.   Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or Silpat liner.

2.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla.

Start by creaming the butter and sugar.

Start by creaming the butter and sugar.

3.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cloves.  Add to creamed mixture in several additions.  If mixture becomes too thick, stir in the remainder of the flour mixture.

4.  Stir in the nuts and cranberries.

5.  Divide the dough in half and form 2 logs on the baking sheet. (approximately 1/2″ x 2″ wide).

Form dough into 2 "logs" on baking sheet.

Form dough into 2 “logs” on baking sheet.

6.  Bake at 325*F. for 25 minutes, until light golden brown.

7.  Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes.  Slice into 1/2″-thick slices.   Lay on their sides.  Bake about 10 minutes longer, turning over after 5 minutes.

These biscotti may not seem crisp enough, but as they cool they become crisper, so do not over bake them.

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Enjoy these delightful biscotti and be comforted!

SOURCE:    Big Oven

Banana Cranberry Bread

I love the beginning of the New Year.  There’s nothing going on that makes demands on me.  It’s when I can slow down, do some thinking and planning, and recalibrate my brain.

Banana Cranberry Bread

Banana Cranberry Bread

Whenever I need to get “centered” I turn to my oven, and usually what I want to put into the oven involves fruit in some way.   In the fruit bowl on my kitchen counter or in the crisper drawer of my refrigerator there is usually some fruit or other that needs to be eaten or used up.   In most instances that would be several black and pretty far-gone bananas in the fruit bowl.

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It’s embarrassing when someone stops by, and there are the bananas on the counter wearing their black skins, with maybe a few fruit flies visiting them.  You know what I mean, I’m sure.  Who doesn’t buy a bunch of bananas every time they go to the grocery store.  Come on, that can’t be just me.

So like everyone else in this predicament, I make banana bread.   Familiar, reliable, sweet.  It’s a home run.

My favorite recipe for Banana Bread was my starting place for this recipe.   The yogurt in the recipe, in addition to the bananas, makes a nice tender bread, plus the texture it brought to the finished bread was amazing.   I added some whole fresh cranberries for some bright spots of color and a zing of tartness amongst the sweetness.  They are still appropriate for the season.

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OK, let’s take a deep breath and relax as we make this bread.  This will not be stressful at all!

We will get out flour, spices and salt and whisk them together well.  Nice fluffy flour, with no lumps.  From the refrigerator, take out eggs, yogurt and butter.

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Now about the butter….why add plain butter when you can add browned butter that’s nutty, fragrant, and has an almost caramelized flavor?  Yes, let’s do that!

What else so we need?  Brown sugar and the mashed banana.   This is turning into something special in spite of myself.

Stir it all together:  flour and spices plus all that banana goodness.

Last, throw in the cranberries, pretty little gems.  This is the festive part, the bells and whistles.

It makes a lot of batter for one 9″ x 5″ pan.   This can be one tasty loaf of banana bread plus 1 or 2 banana bread muffins; or divide into 2 smaller loaf pans, one for now, and one to freeze.

Don’t even think of baking this bread without some crumbly topping.  It’s the decorative ending, or beginning, as that is what you will see first, and tempt you to sample this yummy bread.

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This bread can do no wrong.  It’s moist and soft.  Perfect for breakfast and snacking.  Studded with cranberries and topped with a crunchy topping.   I think you should make a loaf as soon as you have some black bananas,  maybe next weekend?

BROWN BUTTER BANANA CRANBERRY BREAD

Yield:  (1) 9″ x 5″ loaf + 1 or 2 muffins, or (2) 8″ x 2″ loaves

For the bread:

  • 6 oz. unsalted butter, melted and browned to measure just over 1/2 cup
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (make part of it white whole wheat if you like)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup mashed banana ( about 3 medium bananas)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1  1/2 cups whole fresh cranberries

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For the crumble:

  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 Tbsp. lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Spray pan(s) with non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment paper leaving about two inches of paper to hang over the long sides of the loaf pan.

2.  Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Butter will begin to foam and crackle as it melts.  When the crackling subsides, the butter will begin to brown.  Swirl the pan as the butter cooks.  When the butter browns and begins to smell nutty, remove from the heat and transfer to a small bowl.  Taking the butter out of the hot pan will stop it from overcooking and burning.  Set aside to cool.

3.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt , cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom.

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4.  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, mashed bananas, vanilla extract, and yogurt.

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When butter has cooled, whisk in the browned butter.

5.  Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients.

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Fold together, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any hidden pockets of flour.  Fold together the ingredients, taking care not to over stir.

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Fold in cranberries.

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6.  Make the crumble:  Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly. (or cut in the butter with a pastry cutter.)

7.  Spoon batter into prepared pan(s).  Sprinkle the crumble over the top.

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Bake the loaf for 50 – 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the pan for 15 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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8.  Bread will last for 4 days, well wrapped at room temperature.  This loaf also freezes well.

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SOURCE:    adapted from Coffee Cakes and Quick Breads

 

 

 

Fresh Whole Cranberry Sauce

Fresh Whole Cranberry Sauce

Fresh Whole Cranberry Sauce

I think that cranberries are one of the best things about this time of year.  They appear on the scene as fresh fruit at just the right time.  All the color outside has just about disappeared and everything is looking very “gray”.   That probably won’t last long as we have a forecast for snow starting tomorrow.  (I so hope the forecasters are wrong!)  Anyway, cranberries show up with their perfect red color and suddenly things are looking up.

At one time way back when, I was very neutral toward cranberries.  Like,  “Oh, yeah, cranberry sauce with turkey..that’s nice”; and that’s all I thought they were good for.  But now-a-days, because they freeze so easily, we can cook and bake with the little jewels all year long.  But somehow they seem most welcome in the fall and through the Holidays.  I really think it’s because of their wonderful color when everything else around us is so drab.  They’re bright and cheerful, make you smile, and they’re a very flattering shade of red.

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Oh, you are SO gorgeous !

 

Now their flavor is something else!!  Most people are scared of a cranberry.  My goodness, how do you sweeten it up?  Try eating just one…..raw.    That little baby has major pucker power.  They are so tart they make an average lemon seem like a wimp.  But you know, that’s really the best part.  Cranberries provide a contrast.  Think about your favorite foods, aren’t there contrasts involved?  Savory against sweet; sweet decadent desserts with a little salt;  a crunchy topping on a smooth custardy base;  and cranberries—all twisted up with something sweet really get to shine.

Well cranberry sauce is like that.   A contrast in and all by itself.   It’s sweet, but it’s tart.  It can be smooth and jellied, or chunky and rough.   It’s satisfying and flavorful on its own, and it gets even better when other fruits are added to it.  Citrus fruits pair with cranberries very well, especially oranges, so I add some zest and some juice.  I also add some lime, the zest and juice, to deepen that layer of citrus you detect.   Making my own fresh cranberry sauce is so fun and this recipe can be dressed up with additional fruits like chopped apples, or pears and some raisins to turn it into a chutney.  Think of it as a garnish to go with whatever you may be serving and have some fun with it.  Cranberry with pineapple and ham, anyone?

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WHOLE CRANBERRY SAUCE

Yield:   about 12 servings, or 3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked overIMG_8614
  • 2 cups granulated sugar  ( I use about 1  3/4 cups, as we like it less sweet)
  • 1 tsp. grated orange peel
  • 1 tsp. grated lime peel
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup water

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Directions:

1.  Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.   Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes until the berries pop.

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Skim off any large amount of foam that may form on the surface.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

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2.  This sauce will thicken nicely as it cools because of the high level of pectin in the cranberries.  Store in the refrigerator in a covered container.  Serve with chicken or turkey, or any other entree of your choice.

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Stuffed Turkey Tenderloins

 

 

Stuffed Turkey Tenderloins

Stuffed Turkey Tenderloins

This recipe is for anyone who is not planning on roasting a whole turkey for Thanksgiving, yet wants to have some turkey the day of…just not for a week afterward.

Can I interest you in turkey tenderloins stuffed with a savory filling of butternut squash, cranberries, sage and pecans?   All the tastes of Thanksgiving wrapped up in a neat little edible package.  These are not hard to make, they taste fabulous and even the next day, they still taste great leftover for lunch.

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Turkey tenderloins are the tender long strip of white meat hidden under the turkey breast.  They are succulent, and so excellent for fast cooking.  Because they are so lean you want to be sure you don’t overcook them or the meat will be dry. Once stuffed they are seared a little to brown them up, then covered and baked in the oven to finish cooking.  By covering the pan you keep all the moisture inside, thereby maintaining moisture in the meat.

I made these for Mr. D. and me as a pre-Thanksgiving meal to try them out, but they would be good anytime you want just a small amount of turkey or you’re planning a meal for a special occasion.

BUTTERNUT STUFFED TURKEY TENDERLOINS

Yield:  Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless turkey tenderloins  ( about 2 large, or 4 smaller ones)IMG_8597
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1  1/4 cups diced butternut squash, 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. dried sage
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped pecans
  • cooking twine
  • cooking spray

Directions:

1.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil.  Add shallots and garlic and sauté over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, or until soft and golden.

Sauté shallots and garlic till soft.

Sauté shallots and garlic till soft.

Add butternut squash, cranberries, maple syrup and 1 Tbsp. water and cover;  cook on low for 10 minutes.

Add b-nut squash, cranberries, maple syrup and water.

Add b-nut squash, cranberries, maple syrup and water.

Turn off heat and add salt, pepper and sage.    Stir in the pecans and set aside to cool slightly.

Add seasonings and pecans.

Add seasonings and pecans.

2.  Cut a pocket into the sides of the tenderloins, being careful not to cut all the way through at the ends.  Sprinkle inside and out with salt.

3.  Stuff each turkey breast with about 1/2 cup of squash mixture.  (This really depends on the size of your tenderloins.  Stuff them as full as possible.)  Cut cooking twine long enough to tie each breast with 3 to 4 pieces of twine.  Cut off extra “tails”.

Tenderloins stuffed and tied.

Tenderloins stuffed and tied.

4.  Preheat oven to 375*F.    Wipe out the skillet you’ve previously used and reheat to medium-high.  Spray with a little cooking spray.  Carefully sear each turkey tenderloin on each side.  If your skillet is oven proof, cover tightly with foil and place in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  (If your skillet is not oven proof, transfer the tenderloins to a baking dish and cover with foil.)  Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

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SOURCE:    Slightly modified from Skinny Taste

Banana Upside-Down Cake

Banana Upside-Down Cake

Banana Upside-Down Cake

Upside-down cakes were something that we had often when I was growing up.  A one layer cake that had its own topping, therefore there was no need for frosting.  The only kind my mom made was with pineapple;  I never considered that there was any other kind.  That may be true for many of you too, because it is only recently that I’ve been seeing recipes that use other kinds of fruits for the topping.

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When my Spring edition of the Baking Sheet arrived last week it contained this recipe for Banana Upside-down Cake.  And what a happy coincidence,  I had two bananas just at that ready to use stage of ripeness.  In addition to the bananas the topping also includes raisins or cranberries, and chopped nuts.  Playing on the banana/tropical theme some spiced rum is included in the topping and in the cake.  There is no alcohol content left after baking, but the rum does lend its flavor to the cake in a subtle way.

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It’s absolutely best to serve this cake while it is still warm, with a whipped cream topping or ice cream on the side if you’re feeling indulgent.  This was a nice change from the usual pineapple upside-down cake, and we enjoyed it very much.

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BANANA UPSIDE-DOWN  CAKE

Topping ingredients

Topping ingredients

 

Yield:    8 servings

Ingredients:

 Topping:

  • 1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon spiced rum
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, sliced about 1/2″ thick
  • 1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

 Cake:

  • 1  1/2 cups Unbleached Cake Flour

    Cake ingredients

    Cake ingredients

  • 1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons spiced rum

Directions:

1.    Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Lightly grease an 8″ round cake pan that is at least 2″ deep.  If you don’t have one, use a 9″ pan.

2.  For the topping:  Melt the butter.  Add brown sugar, corn syrup, and rum and stir until well combined.  Pour into the bottom of the pan and pat even.  Arrange bananas, raisins (or cranberries) and nuts over this and pat down gently.

Arrange bananas and remaining ingredients in bottom of cake pan.

Arrange bananas and remaining ingredients in bottom of cake pan.

3.  For the cake:  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Cream butter, oil and sugar thoroughly.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.

Add the flour mixture alternately with milk and rum to the creamed mixture, stirring and blending after each addition.  Gently pour the batter over the banana topping.

4.  Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until the cake just begins to pull from the side of the pan.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning upside down on a serving plate.

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Turn out onto serving plate.

Turn out onto serving plate.

 

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Serve warm and enjoy.  YUM!

Serve warm and enjoy. YUM!

 

SOURCE:   The Baking Sheet,  King Arthur Flour

OOPS, I Goofed!

Cranberry Coconut Quick Bread

Cranberry Coconut Quick Bread

Sweet breads– those simple sweet treats that come together in just about ten minutes, are taking the place of dessert for me.  I place them in the same category as pudding, meaning that they satisfy that longing for something sweet, yet are not overly rich, and with quick breads you can use ingredients that are good for you, like whole wheat flour, and additives such as fruits and nuts.  This recipe takes  tart little cranberries to new heights by pairing them with coconut – and chocolate chips, too. (Another flavor combination I’m stuck on.)  They do a nice job of off-setting the tartness of the cranberries.

So where does the OOPS come in?  It’s coming, read on….

I love cranberries,  and I think most of us associate them with Thanksgiving, and the Christmas holidays; but cranberries are good any time of year.  The problem is that the growing season is pretty short,  so what I like to do is grab a few extra bags when they’re available and stash them in the freezer for use at a later time.   Some recipes are so routine/ordinary that I don’t want to use one of my precious bags of cranberries to make them,  so I’m quite selective about what I will use a bag for.  This recipe is definitely “bag-worthy”.    I also feel that if a recipe is “bag-worthy”, then it must certainly be “blog-worthy”, so I’m sharing it with you.

Still waiting for OOPS?  Hang in there!

One of my precious bags of cranberries went into this recipe.

One of my precious bags of cranberries went into this recipe.

There is not a whole lot of liquid in this recipe; only what is offered by the butter and 3 eggs, so the resulting batter is quite thick–a lot like cookie dough.  I needed to put it into the pan in small amounts, making sure to tap out any air pockets.  The pan was almost full.  Edit note added after baking:  The recipe does not direct you to chop the cranberries, so I used them whole, and mine were frozen.  I baked the bread for the full 70 minutes and a toothpick inserted into three places all came out clean.  When the bread was taken from the oven, it was a light golden brown with bright spots of cranberries,  looking so pretty.  Within a few minutes the center of the bread began to sink, developing that tell-tale sign of being undercooked.  I was so disappointed.  (and mad!)

Undercooked bread.   BOO_HOO!

Yup,  HERE IT IS!!    Undercooked bread. BOO_HOO!

The flavor is wonderful, (please do add the almond flavoring, its what makes this bread so good )and we really liked the parts of it that we could salvage.**   I am not giving up on this bread.  Next time I will use cranberries that are not frozen, and perhaps I’ll chop them up before adding to the batter. No, on second thought, I like the whole cranberry, so I’ll try cooking it longer.  I think they were probably the cause of the problem.   I hope my experience will not deter you from trying this bread, but instead alert you to possible problems that you could solve in advance.

CRANBERRY AND COCONUT BREAD

Yield:  1  9×5 inch loaf

Ingredients:IMG_6279

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed and softened at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract, optional, but good
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2  1/2 cups cranberries, (12-oz. bag)
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Lightly grease and flour a 9″ x 5 ” loaf pan.

2.  Place eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high until mixture is pale yellow, and doubles in volume, about 5-6 minutes.

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3.  Add in butter, vanilla and almond extract (if using), until incorporated; about 2 minutes.  Then using using a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon,  fold in the flour salt, and baking powder.  Do not over mix.  Next fold in the cranberries, coconut and chips.  Batter will be thick.  Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.

Thick batter.   Nice colors.

Thick batter. Nice colors.

4.  Bake for 60 – 70 minutes.   Start checking at 60 minutes.  Bread is done when cake tester or toothpick removed from the center shows only moist crumbs. ( should not be wet and doughy)

** I took all the under cooked section of the loaf, put it into a smaller loaf pan, and rebaked it.  Not quite the same with a second baking, but at least it became dry and firm, so we could eat it anyway.

The slices at each end were cooked well.

The slices at each end were sufficiently cooked that we could experience what the whole loaf should have been like.

Note to self:  If at first you don’t succeed, try gain.  I am going to get this right because it’s so worth it.

SOURCE:  Baker’s Royale

Butternut Squash & Cranberry Couscous

 

Butternut Squash and Cranberry Couscous

Butternut Squash and Cranberry Couscous

For our Christmas dinner, this was one of the side dishes I made to go with Cider-Glazed Baked Spiral Ham.  

This colorful and somewhat unusual side dish may be served hot or at room temperature for a fall-inspired salad.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH & CRANBERRY COUSCOUS

Yield:   Make 8 – 10 servings as a side dish or 7-8 as a salad

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups peeled and diced butternut squash
  • 1 Tbsp. and 1 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1 tsp. black pepper, divided
  • cooking spray
  • 5 oz. pkg. dried cranberries
  • 4 cups water, divided
  • 10-oz. pkg.  couscous
  • 2/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup diced celery
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F.  Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

2.  In a medium bowl, toss the butternut squash with 1 teaspoon olive oil , 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Place on baking  sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until tender.

Roasted squash with celery added.

Roasted squash with celery added. 

3.  In a small bowl, rehydrate the dried cranberries by combining with 2 cups hot water.  Soak for 1 minute, then drain.

4.  In a medium sauce pan, bring 2 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 Tablespoon olive oil to a boil.  Stir in couscous and cover, remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes.  Remove cover, fluff and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

5.  In a large pan or bowl, combine the couscous, squash, cranberries, celery and remaining ingredients.  Serve warm or allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

Cook the couscous and add the remaining ingredients.

Cook the couscous and add the remaining ingredients.

Butternut Squash and Cranberry Couscous

Butternut Squash and Cranberry Couscous

 

SOURCE:   Vegetarian

Cranberry-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

Cranberry-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

Cranberry-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

In case you are still frantically searching for something to serve on Christmas morning, or for a holiday brunch,  these breakfast rolls are just the ticket.  Easy to make at the last minute, a beautiful cheery color, and divine flavor.  They are a cinch to put together.  No yeast dough, no kneading, no rolling of dough.   They get baked in muffin tins with all the good cranberry filling on the bottom, and a tender dough that’s a lot like scones on top.  After they are baked, turn them upside down on a serving platter, and there you are.  A gorgeous color for the holidays, not too sweet, just right with coffee or tea.

My food processor was out and I was chopping cranberries for cranberry relish, and also to make a batch of my Cranberry Liqueur.  So while I was on a roll, (pun intended) I continued chopping enough cranberries to quickly make up these cranberry rolls.   Because I was also chopping up orange to put in the cranberry relish,  I put about 1/4  cup chopped orange in the topping of my rolls too.  WOW!  Spur-of-the-moment decisions are often the best.   Deeelish!

CRANBERRY-PECAN CINNAMON ROLLS

Yield:  Makes 12 rolls

This is what makes the topping.

This is what makes the topping.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup or light corn syrup
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cranberries
  • OR,  3/4 cup cranberries and 1/4 cup chopped orange, optional
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda

    Ingredients for dough.

    Ingredients for dough.

  • 2 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup cold buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375*F.  Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

2.  Combine melted butter, brown sugar, brown rice syrup ( or corn syrup), cranberries, pecans and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl.  Divide among the muffin cups, spreading about 1 tablespoon in the bottom of each.

Put in the bottom of muffin cups.

Put in the bottom of muffin cups.

3.  Whisk the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and remaining 1/2 tsp. cinnamon in a large bowl.  Add cold butter and, using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until it’s the size of small peas.  Pour in buttermilk and oil, stir just until combined.  Spoon the batter on top of the cranberry mixture, using about 2 Tablespoons for each.

Spoon dough over cranberry topping.

Spoon dough over cranberry topping.

4.  Bake rolls until lightly brown around the edges, 18 to 20 minutes.

Bake till lightly browned around the edges.

Bake till lightly browned around the edges.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges of each to loosen. Place a large serving tray over the pan and invert the rolls onto it.  Spoon any topping left in the pan onto the rolls.  Serve warm.

These are so pretty,

These are so pretty,

If all the rolls are not eaten when served, they rewarm very well in the microwave.

SOURCE:   Slightly adapted from Eating Well

Cranberry-Pear Crisp

Cranberry and pear crisp.

Cranberry and pear crisp.

If I were to ask you to name the “fruits of fall”,  surely apples would likely be the first you would mention, and then maybe pears would be a close second.  Where would cranberries fall on that list of fall fruits?  Fresh cranberries are in season now, bagged and sold by the pound.  I usually get several bags of them and put them into the freezer for use later on when they’re no longer available at the supermarket.  They are so useful in both sweet and savory dishes.

We think of cranberries when we’re planning the Thanksgiving menu, because cranberry sauce, whether canned or home made is a natural with turkey.  But cranberries seem to get neglected when it comes to baking or making a dessert for the holiday table.  So today I have a recipe that attempts to change that.

This tart-sweet dessert combines fresh cranberries  with dried cranberries and fresh diced pears, plus lovely spices.  It gets topped with a crumble that is made from flour, sugar, oats, chopped nuts and melted butter.  Served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, it could be the grand finale to your holiday dinner, if not this month, maybe next.  The colors are so festive, they remind me of Christmas jewels and ornaments.

Love the color, and it tastes great, too.

Love the color, and it tastes great, too.

CRANBERRY-PEAR CRISP

Yield:   Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound cranberries, thawed if frozen

    The colors of these two fruits are so pretty together!

    The colors of these two fruits are so pretty together!

  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 firm pears (such as Bosc), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground allspice
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or other nuts of choice
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375*F.  Lightly grease or spray a 3-quart baking dish.

2.  Combine the fresh and dried cranberries in a large bowl.  Add 1 cup sugar,  3 Tbsp. water and the vanilla and toss to coat.  Lightly mash with a potato masher or fork to burst some of the cranberries.

Mix cranberries with sugar and vanilla.

Mix cranberries with sugar and vanilla.

Add the pears, cinnamon, allspice and 2 Tbsp. flour and toss to coat.

Add chopped pears and spices.

Add chopped pears and spices.

Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

Arrange mixed fruits in a baking dish.

Arrange mixed fruits in a baking dish.

3.   Make the topping:  Mix the remaining 1 cup flour, the nuts, oats, the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the salt in a medium bowl,  then stir in the melted butter.

Add melted butter to dry ingredients for crumble topping.

Add melted butter to dry ingredients for crumble topping.

Use your fingers to pinch the topping into small clumps and sprinkle it over the fruit.

Sprinkle on crumble topping.

Sprinkle on crumble topping.

4.  Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown, about 40 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Golden and bubbly after it has baked.

Golden and bubbly after it has baked.

A little sweet, a little tart, a lot of delicious!

A little sweet, a little tart, a lotta delicious!

SOURCE:  Food Network Magazine

Fresh Cranberry and Oat Scones

Once daylight savings time is over and we’re back to Standard time, the days seem shorter with darkness coming before dinner time.  Whose idea was this any way?  I don’t really need the sun shining in my eyes, waking me up at 6am., nor do I appreciate it when it starts getting dark when I want it to stay light outside. Where’s all the day light we’ve been “saving”?   This whole time change thing makes me grouchy.

Fresh cranberry and oat scones.

Fresh cranberry and oat scones.

To get me over this hissy-fit I needed something good to eat.  Something baked, delicate and crumbly.  Something sweet, but not too sweet, with good-for-me-and-you ingredients.   Into my laboratory/kitchen I went and in about 45 minutes we were having these scones with a cup of coffee.  They didn’t bring back more day light but they did help me to get over the “grouchies”.  If you’re having a “mood” these scones just might help you too.

IMG_5576

CRANBERRY AND OAT SCONES

Yield:    Makes 10 scones

Ingredients:

  • 10 Tbsp. frozen butter

    A variety of "healthy" ingredients.

    A variety of “healthy” ingredients.

  • 1/2 cup milk (regular, almond, coconut are all OK)
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped in a processor
  • 2  2/3 cup flour ( or flour and oats combination)**
  • 1/3 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 2 large eggs

**  In place of regular flour I made up this combination:  1 cup whole wheat flour, 2/3 cups oats, 2/3 cups oat flour, 1/3 cup potato flour.  Also I used almond milk instead of regular milk soured with lemon juice.  Either works just fine.  You could also use buttermilk and omit the lemon juice.

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 *F.   Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease lightly.

2.  Mix milk with lemon juice, and keep in refrigerator to chill

3. Coarsely chop cranberries in a food processor and reserve.

Chop 1 cup fresh cranberries.

Chop 1 cup fresh cranberries.

I have a small 2-cup processor that works great for small amounts like this and saves getting out the big processor.

4.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour (s), baking powder, baking soda, salt and orange zest…..

Mix zest of 1 orange into the dry ingredients.

Mix zest of 1 orange into the dry ingredients.

Grate butter on the large holes of a box grater.  Add to flour and toss gently to integrate.

Use a box grater to add small bits of frozen butter to the dry ingredients.

Use a box grater to add small bits of frozen butter to the dry ingredients.

5.  Whisk 1 large egg into the chilled milk and fold into the flour mixture.  Fold in cranberries.

6.  On a floured surface, knead the dough a few times till it just comes together.  Do not over work it.  Form into a disc.  Roll out to 3/4 – inch thickness.  Cut with a 2-inch round cutter.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet.  Reroll scraps and repeat.

Roll out dough and cut with 2-inch cutter.

Roll out dough and cut with 2-inch cutter.

7.  Brush tops with remaining egg and sprinkle with oat flakes and natural sugar.

Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar and  oats.

Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar and oats.

8.  Bake till golden, about 18 minutes.  Watch carefully, they brown up quickly.  These freeze well.

Fresh cranberry and oat scones.

Fresh cranberry and oat scones.

SOURCE:   Adapted from Everyday Foods