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.

Cranberry Week – Wild Rice Pilaf With Honey, Dried Cranberries, and Pecans

Wild Rice is an aquatic cereal grain that grows “wild” in isolated lake and river bed areas located primarily within the continent of North America. It is also native to ecologically similar regions located on the continent of Asia. This evolutionarily ancient grain has been found in layers of the earth dating back some 12,000 years. In addition to its role as an important food staple for ancestral peoples, it has provided a unique habitat for fish and waterfowl for thousands of years.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tb. canola or grapeseed oil
  • 3 large shallots, minced
  • 2 cups wild rice or 2 cups short-grain brown
    rice, or a mixture
  • 1⁄2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs or 1⁄4 tsp. dried thyme,
    crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground white pepper, plus
    more, to taste
  • 1⁄2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 375°F. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, bring the stock to a simmer.In a heavy 2-qt. flameproof casserole over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir until the grains are well coated, about 3 minutes. Stir in the simmering stock, dried cranberries, honey, bay leaf, thyme, the 1/2 tsp. sea salt and the 1/8 tsp. white pepper. Bring to a simmer, stir and cover. Transfer the casserole to the oven and bake until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender, 40 to 45 minutes.Remove from the oven. Remove and discard the bay leaf and the thyme sprigs, if used. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Stir in the pecans and parsley. Serve hot or warm.
Serves 8 to 10.

Cranberry Week – Honey Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Pedigree of Honey

by: Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

The pedigree of honey

Does not concern the bee;

A clover, any time, to him

Is aristocracy.

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts

Directions

Preheat to 375 degrees

1. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well dispersed.
2. Cream the sugar, honey, and butter together. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat the mixture until light and creamy. Add the extract.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed ingredients, mixing until combined. Add the cranberries, chips, and nuts.
4. Drop heaping teaspoons two inches apart on an ungreased sheet. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Cranberry Week – Honey Cranberry Fudge Pie

Did you know that cranberries have anti-adhesion properties that reduce the number of oral bacteria that cause cavities and dental plaque?  They also help reverse periodontal (gum) disease.

Crust

1 2/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
5 tablespoons melted butter

Filling

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate (also good with white chocolate!!)
2/3 cup (5 3/8 ounces) heavy cream
3/4 cup diced walnuts or pecans

Topping*

1 cup honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups cranberry juice
1 cup dried cranberries
12-ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries, a generous 3 cups
*You’ll need about 15 ounces (a scant 1 1/2 cups) topping for the pie. Enjoy the remainder on its own.

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2) To make the crust: Process the crackers, sugar, and melted butter in a food processor until crumbly and well combined.

3) Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie pan.

4) Bake the crust for about 7 to 8 minutes, until it’s set, but not brown. Remove from the oven and cool.

5) To make the filling: Put the chips (or chopped chocolate) and cream in a microwave-safe container, and heat for about 90 seconds.

6) Remove from the microwave, and stir until the mixture becomes smooth and dark brown; you’re simply making a basic ganache.

7) Spoon the hot ganache into the cooled crust, and sprinkle the nuts on top.

8) Refrigerate the pie for at least 1 hour, probably 2, until the ganache has firmed up.

9) While the pie is chilling, make the topping. Bring the honey, salt, and cranberry juice to a boil.

10) Stir in the dried cranberries, and simmer for about 5 minutes.

11) Add the fresh or frozen cranberries, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until some of the berries have burst.

12) Remove the cranberries from the heat, spoon into a bowl, and chill.

13) To finish assembling the pie: Spoon 1 1/2 cups cranberry sauce atop the fudge/nut filling. Chill until ready to serve.

Yield: 9″ pie, 8 to 10 rich servings.

Cranberry Week – Honey Cranberry Spinach Salad With Bacon, Blue Cheese and Pecans

 

Did you know that cranberries promote heart health?  Cranberries are high in flavonoids that reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis which reduces blood flow within the arteries. Ongoing research continues to suggest that cranberries may offer a natural defense against arteriosclerosis, which can lead to heart attacks, angina and blood clots.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound hickory smoked bacon slices, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 2 (6-ounce) containers baby spinach
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup Danish blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Fry chopped bacon in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until brown and crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined 1/4-sheet tray to drain.

Toast pecans in the oven on a 1/4-sheet tray until lightly golden and fragrant, about 6 minutes.

In a medium bowl mash the blue cheese with a fork. Mix in the buttermilk, sour cream, honey, salt and pepper, to taste.

Combine baby spinach, red onion, pecans, dried cranberries and bacon in large bowl. Toss with the dressing immediately before serving.

Serves 4.