Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two 8 inch round cake pans with flour-based baking spray, or grease and flour.
Place the cranberries in a medium bowl and add brown sugar; toss to coat and set aside. Combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together until incorporated. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the egg, sour cream, melted butter, and almond extract. Beat until well blended. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix together on low speed until just combined. Use a large spatula to scrape down the bowl and fold batter together to make sure no pockets of flour or wet ingredients remain.
Divide half of the batter between the two prepared pans. The batter will be thick and sticky, so coat a rubber spatula with cooking spray and use it to press the batter evenly into the pans (re-spray as needed). Top each pan of batter with 1/4 of the brown sugar-coated cranberries. Cut almond paste in half and crumble one half of the paste into each pan over the cranberries. Divide the remaining batter between the two pans. Spread evenly with a greased rubber spatula. Divide the remaining brown sugar-coated cranberries between the two pans; sprinkle with the sliced almonds.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the cakes are golden brown on top and a toothpick tester inserted into the centers comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to the skewer. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the icing, stir together the confectioners’ sugar, milk and almond extract in a medium bowl. Add additional milk if needed to thin. Drizzle the icing over the cooled cakes. Serve.
Refrigerate leftovers. Bring cake to room temperature or warm in the microwave or oven before serving.
5ouncesfresh spinachhalf a 10 ounce bag1 and 1/2cupsdry small pasta 3/4cupchopped celery 3/4cupdried cranberries 1 can(15 ounces)can mandarin oranges 1large Granny Smith Apple 1teaspoonlemon juice 1/3cuppecans,coarsely chopped* Optional: Feta cheese
2tablespoonsapple cider vinegar
2tablespoonswhite wine vinegar
1/8teaspoon each:paprika & onion powder
4tablespoonsolive oil or vegetable oil
Cook the pasta according to package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the dressing. In a food processor or blender (I used my small Twister jar on the Blendtec) combine the apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, sugar, (adjust — more or less to personal preference, we like a less sweet dressing and use about 2 tablespoons) paprika, and onion powder. Pulse or blend for about 10 seconds. Slowly add in the oil and pulse until just combined. Stir in the poppyseeds. IF you don’t have a blender or food processor you can combine the ingredients in a bowl or mason jar and whisk (or shake jar) vigorously.
Drain the pasta once it’s cooked through and immediately toss a few tablespoons of the dressing with the pasta. This helps the pasta soak in the dressing and the flavor.
Chill the dressed pasta in the fridge.
Meanwhile, combine the (washed and de-stemmed) spinach with the chopped celery in a large bowl. Add in the cranberries and a can of drained mandarine oranges.
If desired peel the apple (We like to leave on the peel!) and then slice into thin slices. Toss with lemon juice and then add to the salad.
Pour dressing over the salad and toss. Add in the completely cooled pasta and toss with the rest of the salad.
If you want to toast the pecans, place them in a single layer in a dry saucepan (don’t add anything) over medium heat. Stir constantly until the nuts are barely fragrant — just a couple of minutes. Watch carefully as the nuts are VERY easily scorched/burned.
Alternatively, you can candy the pecans if desired. Check the link in the last paragraph of the blog text for how to candy pecans. *UPDATE: we’ve found we like this salad even more with the pecans coarsely chopped- you’ll get more in each bite! 🙂
Top the salad with the pecans and (if desired) feta cheese.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
In a large bowl, combine the Brussels sprouts, pears, and onion and toss to coat with the olive oil. Season with a few pinches each of salt and pepper.
Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and bake until the Brussels sprouts are golden brown and have started to crisp and the pears have caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking.
Squeeze the lemon wedges over the pan and drizzle with the honey. Toss in the dried cranberries, mix everything well, and taste, adding another squeeze of lemon or more salt and pepper if desired. I promise this dish will not disappoint.
In saucepan, bring sugar, vinegar, ginger, cloves, salt and peppercorns to boil; cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes.
Stir in cranberries and orange zest; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook until cranberries are just beginning to burst, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool completely, about 2 hours. Strain mixture over bowl, reserving solids and liquid.
Transfer cranberry solids to sterilized 2-cup jar with tight-fitting lid; top with enough reserved liquid to cover, discarding any excess. Seal tightly. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 months.
2 firm but ripe Bosc pears (do not peel), quartered lengthwise, cored, and cut into long, thin slices
2/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
To make the dressing, in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. Cover tightly and shake vigorously to blend. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Set aside.
Place the onions in a medium bowl and cover with cold water. Let stand for 30 minutes. This crisps the onion and takes away the raw onion taste. Drain well and pat dry on paper towels.
In a small bowl, toss the cranberries with 2 tablespoons of the dressing to soften them. Set aside for at least 20 minutes or until ready to serve the salad.
To assemble the salad, place the spinach, onions, and pears in a large bowl. Give the remaining dressing a last-minute shake and pour over the salad. Toss to coat evenly. Arrange the salad in a large serving bowl or divide it evenly among 8 salad plates. Scatter the cranberries and hazelnuts over the top(s). Serve immediately.
Cook’s Notes You can substitute unsalted cashews for the hazelnuts. Toast cashews, as directed above for hazelnuts, for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly browned.
The dressing can be made up to 1 day in advance, covered tightly, and refrigerated. Remove from the refrigerator 2 hours before serving. The nuts can be toasted up to 1 day in advance; store at room temperature in an airtight container. The onions and cranberries can be prepared up to up to 4 hours in advance. Set aside at room temperature.
12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Combine cranberries, brown sugar, white sugar, water, orange juice, orange zest, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until berries start to pop, about 5 minutes. Press berries against side of pan with wooden spoon and continue to cook until berries have broken down and sauce thickens to a jam-like consistency, about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes. Adjust consistency with water as needed. Serve immediately or place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Can be served cold or reheated.
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
FILLING AND TOPPING
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
2 cups cranberries (10 ounces)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons half-and-half
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving
MAKE THE TART SHELL In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk, vanilla and salt, scrape down the side of the bowl and beat at low speed until smooth. Gradually add the flour, beating until the dough just forms a ball. Pat the dough into a disk and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper into a 12-inch round. Carefully peel off the top layer of parchment paper and invert the dough onto a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Peel off the parchment paper and gently press the dough into the pan. Trim the dough flush with the rim. Patch any cracks with the dough trimmings. Lightly prick the bottom with a fork. Refrigerate the tart shell until firm, about 30 minutes, or freeze for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line the tart shell with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the tart shell for about 30 minutes, until the rim is lightly golden. Remove the foil and weights and bake the tart shell for about 5 minutes longer, until it is lightly golden all over. Set the tart pan on a baking sheet. Increase the oven temperature to 375°.
MEANWHILE, MAKE THE FILLING In a medium saucepan, combine the granulated sugar with the water and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Add the cranberries, cover and cook over moderate heat for 3 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove the pan from the heat and let the cranberries cool to room temperature. Drain the cranberries well; reserve the cranberry syrup.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the brown sugar and flour. Whisk in the half-and-half and the almond extract. Spread the cranberries in the tart shell. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the reserved cranberry syrup over the cranberries, then pour in the almond custard.
Bake the tart in the lower third of the oven until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer the tart in the pan to a rack to cool completely, at least 2 hours. Dust the tart with confectioners’ sugar. Cut the tart into wedges and serve with whipped cream.
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 oz baby spinach, chopped
1 romaine heart, chopped
1 cup red grapes, halved
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 pear, sliced
4 oz fresh raspberries
2.5 oz crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup shelled pistachios, chopped
Make the Dressing:
Combine the jam and the vinegar in a blender and pulse until combined. With the blender running, stream in the vegetable oil. Alternately, combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake until completely combined.
Make the Salad:
Combine the spinach, romaine, grapes, cranberries, pear and raspberries in a large bowl and toss to combine. Sprinkle the blue cheese and pistachios on top. Serve with the raspberry vinaigrette.
Heat oven to 425F. Zest the orange. Squeeze the juice from the orange and reserve.
In a bowl, combine 2 cups cranberries, orange zest, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon honey, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet and pour on the cranberries. Roast 12-15 minutes until tender.
Return the cranberry mixture to a bowl and stir in the reserved orange juice and ¼ cup honey. Let sit for 30 minutes or more before serving.
When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 375F. Bake the brie for 15 minutes until soft and warm. Spread the cranberry mixture over the brie. If desired, add chopped pistachios for garnish. Serve with crackers or bread slices.