Cranberry Week – Honey Cranberry Almond Bark

It was probably inevitable that cranberries would be associated with Christmas. Their bright, shiny red color and their winter availability primed them for use on the table and the tree. Slow to spoil, they hold up for the entire twelve days of Christmas and longer.

The earliest American Christmas trees in the 1840s were decorated with homemade ornaments of fruits, nuts, candies, and other “sweetmeats,” and it could not have taken long for the woman of the house to thread a large needle and string cranberries with popped corn to make a red and white holiday garland.

  • 5oz of white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup of sliced almonds
  • Honey
  1. Re-hydrate cranberries in water over high heat in a small pot until they plump up, remove from heat and liquid, set aside let cool.
  2. Toast the almonds over medium low in a small pan, tossing frequently until they are a golden brown, remove from heat, give it a rough chop, set asid
  3. Melt chocolate over a double boiler with the water simmering. Stir with a rubber spatula until it becomes a smooth texture, immediately remove from heat and pour into a 9×9 sheet pan with parchment paper on the bottom, spread evenly.
  4. Working quickly sprinkle the almonds evenly over the chocolate, then the cranberries and lastly, working from the top corner to the bottom drizzle the honey quickly and horizontally, not too thick or it will be too sticky. A very thin layer will almost not be seen but will be tasted. Let chocolate set before breaking apart and placing in an air tight container.

Honey Cherry Cupcakes With Honey Cherry Buttercream Frosting

I went to a lovely baby shower yesterday for my goddaughter who is expecting at the end of August. The hostess served a beautiful cherry cake, which was quite delicious.

Nonetheless, I couldn’t help thinking how much better the cake would taste if it were made with honey. So I came up with this recipe!

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

4 eggs, separated

1 1/2 cups honey

3/4 cup whole milk

¼ teaspoon almond extract

4 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice

1 cup maraschino cherry halves

Few drops red/pink gel food coloring (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter until very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Sift dry ingredients together and set aside.

Set egg whites aside to be beaten. Add the egg yolks to the creamed butter, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in extract. Add dry ingredients, honey and milk, by alternating (beginning and ending with dry) until just combined.

Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites, and the cherries/juice. For pinker cupcakes, add a few drops of pink gel food coloring to the batter.

Using ice cream/cookie scoop, fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Bake until inserted toothpick comes just clean, about 18-20 minutes, but take care to not over-bake.

As soon as you have removed cupcakes from oven,  remove each of them from pan and place on wire rack.

For the frosting:

1 cup (that’s 2 sticks) of unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon of salt

3 to 4 cups of confectioners sugar

3/4 cup of maraschino cherry juice

1 tablespoon of honey

1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

zest of 1 lemon

Directions:

In the bowl of your stand mixer, using the paddle attachment (you can use a hand-held mixer too, just be sure you have a large bowl to accommodate any flying sugar ), beat the butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Slowly begin adding 3 cups of sugar (about 1/2 cup at a time.)

With each addition, start beating on low speed, and gradually increase as the sugar mixes into the butter.

Once 3 cups of the sugar have been added, beat in the vanilla extract ,honey, maraschino cherry juice and lemon zest until well combined.

Beat at medium-high speed, until the frosting becomes smooth and creamy.

If the frosting is too runny, gradually add that remaining cup of sugar. You’re aiming for a thick, almost ice cream-like, consistency. If it’s extremely humid, you may want to cover the bowl and refrigerate the frosting for about 20 minutes.

On the flip side, if your frosting is too thick, add a few teaspoons of milk, or cream, but add it gradually…a little bit of liquid goes a long way in frosting.

Makes 2 dozen cupcakes