This Cranberry Sauce recipe certainly deserves its dramatic title. I made the recipe about 3 days ago and I cannot stop getting into my refrigerator to take “just one more taste.” I may or may not have my own secret jar stashed in the back of the refrigerator that I grab and just dig in with a spoon!
I found the recipe at Shockingly Delicious, and she sold me on it once I read these words:
“I’ve experimented with dozens of versions of cranberry sauce over the years – with Port, with Grand Marnier, with blueberries, with cherries, with raisins and nuts, making it a chutney, with sour cream and onions – even doing a cranberry sauce taste test with three different versions a few years in a row. While the taste tests were certainly fun and delicious, it soon became clear that everyone kept reaching for the same dish repeatedly, year after year.”
My cranberry sauce experience has not been as extensive as Dorthy’s above, as I have never made it from scratch. Back in the day, I just bought the canned version, and it acted more like a table decoration than actual food! I bought it because everyone expected it, and it looked pretty and added color to the Thanksgiving table. The problem was, it never got eaten! What a waste. The last few years I have bought Trader Joes Cranberry Sauce, which was a huge improvement from canned, and I thought it was quite good, UNTIL I TASTED THIS HALL OF FAME VERSION!
This recipe is simple and easy to make, so it is surprising that it is so delicious. It has just the right amount of spices. It is the perfect balance of tart and sweet. It is not mushy & has a great balance of crushed cranberries and whole cranberries. It tastes amazing on a turkey sandwich, spread on toast, and drizzled over vanilla ice cream.
I plan on making another double batch for our Thanksgiving brunch, to use in our Turkey Stuffing Cranberry Sliders (recipe coming in the next couple of days) and in our Jaw-Droppingly Good Cranberry Simosas — also from Dorthy at Shockingly Delicious.
This sauce would also make a great hostess gift for the holidays. It is so pretty just in a simple mason jar. Wrap around the jar a few times with some jute and tie a bow. The color of the cranberries in the jar against the naturalness of the jute is just enough decoration. I did this at a little holiday blog party I went to last night & it was fun to show up with something tasty and festive.
The flavor of this Cranberry Sauce gets better over time, so you can make it ahead of time for Thanksgiving. It can stay stored in your refrigerator in a jar for up to two months.
Hall Of Fame Cranberry Sauce
1 1/4 cups brown sugar (original recipe calls for white sugar. I was out so I used brown, and it was so delicious that I will always use brown!)
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (12 ounce) bag fresh cranberries
Zest of 1 orange (orange part only)
~In a large saucepan, add sugar, water and spices. Cook, stirring often, until sugar dissolves and syrup comes to a rolling boil, about 3 minutes.
~In a colander, rinse and pick over the cranberries to remove any mushy ones.
~Add cranberries to boiling syrup and continue cooking, uncovered, just until they begin to pop, about 2-3 minutes (set the timer). Be careful not to cook them to long of they will get mushy. I allowed mine to pop quite a bit, as I wanted the syrup to ooze into the cracks to infiltrate the cranberries.
~Remove from heat, stir in the orange zest.
Note: Syrup will thicken and turn a beautiful cranberry color once cooled and refrigerated.
Optional: mash some of the berries, keeping some of them whole. How much to mash? This depends on the consistency you personally like. I like half of them mashed, and half left whole.
~Cool to room temperature, uncovered.
~Ladle into clean jars and refrigerate until serving time.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups of sauce, enough to serve 6-8 people.
Do you have Cranberry Sauce during the Thanksgiving holiday? Do you make it or buy it? What is a favorite recipe you making for Thanksgiving?