feasting with friends

A Cranberry Carnival

cranberry/pistachio biscotti Tis the season I guess, but it seems I’ve included cranberries is many of my kitchen concoctions lately. I’ve made the seasonal requisite Cranberry Sauce, as well as a few sweet indulgences. One of these sweets is a often repeated cookie. A cranberry, white chocolate cookie that has become a family favorite. Two recipes were new to me. One is a cranberry pistachio biscotti. I was quite reluctant to try this recipe for some time. I kept thinking “failure” as I read and re-read the recipe. But surprise! It’s so simple to make. I promise 🙂 Lastly, I made a recipe from fellow blogger, Ronit at Tasty Eats, which happened to be delicious! This Apple Cranberry Cupcake was quite simple to make also. It has a delectable cranberry icing/glaze that I could eat by the spoonful! I made mine in my mini-bundt cake pans. Please visit Tasty Eats here. You’ll be glad you did!

apple cranberry mini-bundt

I’m not what you would call a huge fan of cranberry sauce in general. Especially the canned variety that when removed from the can retains it’s shape. Too much like jello for me. The recipe that follows was surprisingly good! Tart, spiced and slightly sweet all in one bite. Fresh cranberries is the base of the recipe. All that’s required is 5 minutes of prep time, 15 minutes of cooking and then refrigeration. Easy!

spiced cranberry sauce

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients:

4 cups fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups water
3 whole cloves
5 whole allspice berries
3 cinnamon sticks
2 cups sugar
1/2 fresh nutmeg
1 piece orange peel [approximately 1″x3″]
1 piece lemon peel [approximately 1″x3″]

Directions:

•Wash and pick over fresh cranberries. Place in a medium saucepan with the water and heat over medium heat.

•Wrap cloves, allspice berries, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg in cheesecloth or place in a spice bag. Add to the pot of cranberries and water, along with the citrus peels.

spiced cranberry sauce

•Cook until cranberries begin to burst, about 10 minutes.

spiced cranberry sauce

•Stir in the sugar and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

spiced cranberry sauce

•Discard spice bag and citrus peels. Chill 8 hours to overnight before serving.

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

The following recipe, using dried cranberries and white chocolate chips, is a soft baked cookie. No crunchy, crumbly cookie here!

cranberry/white chocolate cookie

Cranberry & White Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

•In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, mix well.

•Scrape down mixing bowl as needed. Add the dry ingredients [flour, corn starch, baking soda and salt] using low speed until evenly incorporated.

•Stir in the chocolate chips, cranberries and walnuts. Mix well. Chill dough a minimum of 3 hours or overnight.

berry/white chocolate cookie

•When ready to bake, line baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350°F. Drop balls of dough [approximately 1 1/2 Tablespoons of dough] on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8-9 minutes, just until edges of cookies turn light brown. Cool on racks. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

berry/white chocolate cookie  berry/white chocolate cookie

Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

And finally…Cranberry & Pistachio Biscotti. This happened to be my first attempt at making biscotti and it was a success! I love a few things about this recipe: [1] It’s easy to make; [2] The cranberries and pistachios are perfect companions; [3] The biscotti are hard, without being HARD [no chipped teeth]! I read many biscotti recipes before deciding on this one. Most of the recipes directed to make indentations [cut marks] in the log of dough before fully baking. This recipe did not. However, I did conduct a little experiment of my own. Since this recipe makes two “logs”, I baked one as directed and the second one I made cut marks half way into the baking time. Much cleaner cuts were achieved with the pre-made cut marks, so I highly recommend this method.

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Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

Ingredients:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 eggs, room temperature
1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup pistachio nuts

Directions:

•Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

•In a large mixing bowl, blend the olive oil and sugar well. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and the eggs. Beat at medium speed until mixed well.

•Gradually stir in the dry ingredients [flour, salt, baking powder]. Mix in the cranberries and pistachios at low speed.

cranberry pistachio biscotti

•Divide the dough in half. Create 2 logs, approximately 2″x12″. Place on the prepared baking sheet. I found slightly damp hands [cool water] helped to handle and shape the dough.

cranberry pistachio biscotti

•Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Remove from oven and “score” the dough every 1/2-3/4″. Do not cut all the way through. These cut marks will be your guide for cutting in wedges prior to final baking.

cranberry pistachio biscotti

•Bake about 15 more minutes, or until the logs are light brown. Remove from oven and cool for about 10 minutes.

•Decrease oven temperature to 275°F. After the cooling period, cut each log into wedges. Hint: use a very sharp knife. Avoid “sawing” with your knife. Place the knife in your cut marks and push down for a “clean” cut.

cranberry pistachio biscotti  cranberry pistachio biscotti

•Lay the cut pieces on your parchment lined baking sheet, return to reduced temperature oven and bake 8-10 minutes more until wedges are dry and lightly browned.

cranberry pistachio biscotti

•Cool completely on wire racks and store in air-tight container.

cranberry pistachio biscotti

15 comments

    • Hah…it’s amazing where you can end up when you follow the trail! I was just thinking about these cupcakes last week…so yummy. I’ve never been disappointed by any of Ronit’s recipes that I’ve made – and I’ve made many! Thanks for stopping by.

  1. I’m not big on cranberry sauce either or cranberries in general but I’ll try anything once. Sometimes I surprise myself. Those cupcakes look good. Love the logs, too.

  2. Pingback: Apple-Cranberry Cupcakes with Cranberry Icing | Tasty Eats

  3. Hi Nancy, Thank you for the link to my blog and your kind words. I was literally blushing by all your compliments! The cakes look SO good, much better than mine! 🙂
    And the biscotti are just gorgeous and festive! I just love the combination of cranberries and pistachios.
    Happy holidays!
    Ronit

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