Whole Berry Cranberry-Orange Sauce with minimal sugar

This cranberry sauce tastes just barely sweet with orange and a hint of ginger. It is as low in sugar as I could make it, sweetened with only 1 tablespoon of white sugar and 1/4 cup apricot jam (made with sugar), reduced apple juice and fresh orange.

This yields 1 cup sauce, since I used only half the 12 oz. bag of cranberries, which is enough for a small Thanksgiving party. You can make this several days ahead of the big feast. I made it on Tuesday.

Ingredients:

10 oz. bottle of apple juice (the little Martinelli bottle)

1 slice of fresh ginger, peeled

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (1/2 of a 12 oz. bag)

1 large naval orange

1/4 cup apricot jam made with sugar

1 Tb white sugar

Instructions:

Heat apple juice and ginger slice in a medium saucepan. Boil until it is reduced to 1/2 cup. Discard the ginger or put it in your tea for some nice ginger tea.

Pour out the cranberries into a colander and pick through them, discarding any that are getting old. Rinse and add to the reduced apple juice. Bring to a boil.

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Stir in 1/4 cup apricot jam. If you have other jams in the house, you can experiment with them.

Finely zest the orange on a plate, then add to the sauce.

Cut all the white bitter pith from the orange and cut up the orange into small pieces working around the core. Set the orange skins and core aside. Add the orange pieces and juice from cutting to the sauce.

Squeeze the juice from the peels and core into the sauce.

Cook a total of 20 minutes over medium heat, until the texture is thick as jam and about half of the cranberries have burst.

Store in the refrigerator until Thanksgiving.

Hanukkah and Christmas Orange-Nutty Cookies

Chanukah and Christmas Cookies on plate

This mufti-denominational cookie is based on my mom’s Hanukkah cookie recipe. I added some grated orange zest to heighten the fruity notes. The nuts are optional, but I love the crunch of nuts in cookies.

You can soften the butter in the microwave for about 10 seconds if you forgot to leave it out to soften! Crush nuts by pulsing in the food processor or rolling them with a rolling pin as my mom did. They should be tiny, but not pulverized into powder.

Makes about 30 cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutters.

Ingredients:

1 cube butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Finely grated orange zest (the orange part of the peel) of one orange

1 Tb orange juice

2 eggs

3 cups all purpose unbleached flour

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

½ cup crushed walnuts and/ or pecans

1-2 tsp demerara sugar (coarse brown sugar)

Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Add orange zest and juice and beat again.

Sift dry ingredients together and then mix until combined with the moist ingredients. Stir in nuts until incorporated into the dough.

???????????????????????????????Roll the dough into a large ball, then flatten into a disk with your hands. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for ½ hour. This will harden the butter and make the dough easier to roll.

Preheat the oven to 375◦.

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Lightly flour a wooden board and the rolling pin. Grab a few handfuls of dough and roll it out to about 1/8 inch. Dip cookie cutters in flour, then shake out, to prevent the dough from sticking on them, and then cut out shapes.

Oil an insulated cookie sheet with canola oil. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to the cookie sheet. Sprinkle cookies with a pinch of demerara sugar to make them sparkle. Bake the cookies at 375◦ for about 10 minutes until golden. Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container.

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For chocolate drizzle, melt 1/3 cup bittersweet dark chocolate chips in the microwave in a heatproof ceramic or glass bowl. Heat for one minute, stir thoroughly, then heat 30 seconds, stir, another 30 seconds until almost all melted, and stir well. Remove from microwave and let it sit for 5 minutes, then drizzle over cookies.

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Buñuelos

My favorite New Year’s Eve memories include one spent with my in-laws in a small country town in South Texas. We went to the Knights of Columbus hall, where we joined couples of all ages dancing in a big circle to Mexican polkas and boleros. The men wore cowboy hats and the women danced in high heels. Most of the songs were about love, but I remember a few about chickens.
When we came back to the house, my mother-in-law, Conchita, fried up delicious buñuelos; orange and cinnamon scented flour tortillas rolled in cinnamon sugar. We’ve made them every New Year’s morning since.

This year I added orange zest to the dough to amp up the flavor and fried them in coconut oil instead of canola oil. They were the best ever!

Makes 15 buñuelos

Cinnamon powder, divided. 1 tsp for dough and 1 Tb for coating

Sugar, divided. 1 tsp for dough and ½ cup for coating

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tb baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

2 Tb butter at room temperature

½ cup orange juice from one large orange

Finely grated zest from one large orange – approximately 1/2 tsp

1 cup coconut oil for frying

Mix 1 Tb cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar in a shallow dish for coating the buñuelos and set aside.

Sift flour, baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp sugar in a large bowl and whisk well. Mix in butter and orange zest. Mix in orange juice and knead until it forms a ball. Place on a floured board and knead for 5 minutes.

Form into small balls, cover with a warm damp dish towel. and let rest for 5 minutes.

Roll out each ball into a round tortilla shape, as thin as you can.

Heat oil in heavy skillet until hot. Place several layers of paper towels on a plate.
Carefully fry buñuelos, one at a time. Fry the first side until it puffs up, or about 8-10 seconds. Turn it over and briefly fry the other side until it stops puffing up. Using tongs, hold the buñuelo at an angle above the pan for a few seconds to drain excess oil.  Place on the paper towels to soak up oil for a few minutes,

then roll in cinnamon sugar. Excellent with coffee or Mexican hot chocolate.

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!  Happy New Year!