So if you're getting a present from us this year, skip this Blog.
In additions to the jams and syrup I made, I found a couple of nice recipes that are going to make their way to various friends and family.
The first is cranberry sauce. Now, had I known that whole-berry cranberry sauce was this easy I would have never purchased any, ever. I found a nice recipe and then canned it according to the cranberry sauce directions over at www.pickyourown.com. But I wanted something more special than plain-ol' cranberry sauce. Internet to the rescue! This recipe suffered no changes at my hands. I've made one batch with dried cranberries and one with dried cherries; both are excellent!
Cranberry and Dried Cherry Sauce
Raisins or dried cranberries could easily stand in for the dried tart cherries.
1 12-ounce container frozen cranberry juice cocktail, thawed
1 cup water
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 6-ounce package dried tart cherries
1 12-ounce bag cranberries
Bring first 5 ingredients to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add cherries; cook 2 minutes. Add cranberries; cook until berries pop, stirring occasionally, about 9 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Cover; chill overnight. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Keep chilled.) Discard cinnamon. Serve cold or at room temperature. Makes about 4 cups.
This one came from Kraft foods. They have a nice little (free!) recipe magazine they send out regularly. While it's naturally focused on their products, I get a lot of neat ideas there.
If I had known that Chocolate Bark was so easy I would have done this ages ago. In this case I omitted the Oreos and peanut butter, and used chopped dried cranberries in one batch ('cause I've got a ton of them, yay Sam's Club!) and crushed candy canes in the other. I may still go back and make the cookie version, it sounds like a great excuse to buy Oreos. It might also be a good reason to indulge in some high-quality dark chocolate.
Chocolate Cookie Bark
1 pkg. (8 squares) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
1 pkg. (6 squares) BAKER'S Premium White Baking Chocolate
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
10 OREO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Place semi-sweet chocolate and white chocolate in separate medium microwaveable bowls. Microwave until completely melted, following directions on package. Add peanut butter to white chocolate; stir until well blended. Crumble half the cookies over chocolate in each bowl; mix well.
Drop spoonfuls of the chocolate mixtures onto wax paper-covered baking sheet, alternating the colors of the chocolates. Cut through chocolate mixtures several times with knife for marble effect.
Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm. Break into 14 pieces. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.