Tag Archives: cranberries

Cranberry bliss bars on cooling rack

Whip up Those Popular Coffee Shop Cranberry Bliss Bars in Less Than 1 Hour

You know those popular coffee shop cranberry bliss bars that come out every holiday season? Buttery shortbread dotted with dried cranberries, topped with a sweet cream cheese icing — and sometimes are just a little too sweet? Well, these Baking Therapy cranberry bars are inspired by those, but even better! This soft and buttery pistachio shortbread is topped with fresh, tart, in-season cranberries that are bursting with flavour. Finished with a sweet and addictive white chocolate, cream cheese icing. Need I say more?

Cranberry bliss bars on cooling rack

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 35 to 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 to 55 minutes
Servings: 12 bars

Ingredients:

Shortbread
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup icing sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup crushed pistachios
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp lemon zest

Filling
2 cups fresh cranberries
½ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract

Icing
⅓ cup (60g) white chocolate, chopped
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
¾ cup icing sugar
3 Tbsp milk

Cranberry bliss bar ingredients on kitchen counter

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line and grease 9×9 square pan. Set aside.

2. First, whip up the shortbread. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the flour, pistachios, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Beat on low until just combined, texture will be crumbly. Reserve 1 cup of mixture for the crumble, press remaining dough firmly into bottom of pan.

Cranberry bliss bars base

3. Now for the filling: in a medium bowl, toss together cranberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Evenly distribute the cranberries onto the cookie layer. Top with the reserved cookie dough and pack down firmly.

Cranberry bliss bars cranberry layer

4. Bake in oven for 35 to 40 minutes until the top is golden brown. Let cool completely in the pan before slicing.

Cranberry bliss bars cooling on rack

5. For the icing: place the chopped white chocolate or chips in a small bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals until melted, stirring often. Set aside to cool slightly.

Related: 12 Coffee and Hot Chocolate Recipes to Warm Your Belly This Fall

6. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Gradually add in the icing sugar and whisk on high to combine. Add the melted white chocolate and milk and whisk on high for another 30 seconds. Transfer to a piping bag and drizzle over top.

Piping bag icing top of cranberry bliss bars

Like Sabrina’s cranberry bliss bars? Try her sticky toffee pudding and pumpkin pie squares with candied pecans.

Fun and Festive Cranberry Brie Empanadas

Instead of the usual cranberry and Brie in puff pastry,  these holiday stars are enclosed in a flaky, spiced empanada dough. Sweetened with a touch of honey, these tart, creamy and impossibly flaky empanada-style hand pies will become a new, classic holiday staple.

Cranberry-Brie-Empanadas2

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 52 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 12 minutes
Serves: 12 to 15

Ingredients:

Spiced Crust
1 large egg
8 Tbsp ice water
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small cubes
1 Tbsp milk, for brushing

Filling
1 wheel Brie, chilled, cut into thin strips
1 cup fresh or frozen (do not defrost) cranberries
2 Tbsp honey, plus more for serving

Cranberry-Brie-Empanadas1

Directions:

Spiced Crust
1. In a small bowl, beat egg with 4 Tbsp water and vinegar.
2. In a food processor or in a large bowl, combine flour, salt, cloves and nutmeg. Pulse or cut in butter until a fine meal forms.
3. Using the food processor, add egg mixture to flour mixture until a shaggy but manageable dough has formed. Add additional water if mixture looks too dry.
4. Transfer dough onto counter and knead until it all comes together. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until firm.
5. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 3- to 4-inch cookie cutter or rim of a glass, cut rounds. Roll scraps and cut additional rounds. Arrange rounds evenly onto two large baking sheets.

Filling and Assembly
1. In the centre of each dough circle, add a slice of brie, a few cranberries, and drizzle of honey. Do not overstuff. Repeat with remaining circles.
2. Brush the top half of the dough circle with milk. Fold circles in half and crimp to seal with a fork. Chill for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
4. Brush chilled empanadas with milk. Bake for 10 minutes, until dough has puffed and is beginning to brown around the edges.
5. Transfer empanadas to a serving plates, slice in half (optional) and drizzle with additional honey. Serve warm or room temperature.

Looking for more tasty holiday bites? We’ve got 75 Party Appetizers Your Guests Will Love.

3 Fun and Festive Cranberry Cocktails

It wouldn’t be the holidays without bright, tart cranberries, and the same goes for cocktails. Celebrate the season in style with these three fruity drinks fit for any holiday party.

From a fizzy champagne cocktail featuring a homemade spiced cranberry orange simple syrup, to vanilla vodka-spiked cranberry mule, to the cinnamon infused cran-apple white wine sangria, we’ve got a drink to suit everyone’s taste this season.

festive-cranberry-cocktails

Holiday Fizz

Prep Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

For the Spiced Cranberry Orange Simple Syrup
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tsp orange zest
1 whole star anise
1 whole cinnamon stick

For the Drinks
12 fresh cranberries
6 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 orange, thinly sliced
1 bottle Canadian sparkling wine or champagne, chilled
1 recipe Spiced Cranberry Orange Simple Syrup, from above, chilled

Directions:

Spiced Cranberry Orange Simple Syrup
1. In a medium saucepan, bring all simple syrup ingredients to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until sugar has dissolved and cranberries have started to pop, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, strain into a glass jar; discard solids. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until chilled. Store simple syrup in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Assembly
1. Skewer 2 cranberries on each rosemary sprig. Set aside.
2. In each of 6 cocktail or wine glasses, add a few slices of orange, 1 Tbsp prepared simple syrup and 1/2 cup sparkling wine or champagne. Serve chilled.

Vanilla-Cran Mule

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
2 cups ice
1/2 cup vanilla vodka
1/2 cup ginger ale
1 Tbsp cranberry juice
12 fresh or frozen cranberries (no need to defrost if using frozen)
1 lime cut into thin rounds, to garnish
Evergreen twigs, to garnish

Directions:
1. In a cocktail shaker or pitcher, per mule, gently stir 1/4 cup vodka, 1/2 cup ginger ale and 1 Tbsp cranberry juice.
2. Add 1/2 cup ice, 3 cranberries and a couple lime slices to each glass (use traditional copper mule mugs or regular cocktail glasses).
3. Pour prepared cocktail into each ice-filled glass. Garnish with evergreen twigs. Serve.

Cran-Apple Sangria

Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (no need to defrost if using frozen)
1 gala apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup brandy
1 bottle white wine

Directions:
1. In a large pitcher or punch bowl, stir together cranberries, apple slices, apple cider, cinnamon, brandy and white wine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
2. Pour or ladle sangria into glasses, being sure to include the wine-soaked apples and cranberries. Serve chilled.

CranberryEggnogMuffins

Cranberry Muffins to Cozy up with This Winter

By Barbara Mayhew

Cranberries grow in Prince Edward Island and are a versatile food. I remember as a small child going with my mother and grandmother to pick wild cranberries. In the fall, these berries were highly sought after. We used them fresh in cranberry sauce and froze them for use over the winter months.

The cranberries used in this recipe were grown in Farmington, near Souris, in the eastern part of P.E.I. A visit to Mikita Farms to watch the wet-harvesting of the cranberries got my creative juices flowing and inspired this recipe. I like to know where my food comes from, and being able to watch the cranberry harvest and then stop by the stand at the farm gate to buy the berries, meant I was able to use the freshest local produce available.

Cranberry-Banana Eggnog Muffins, Courtesy of Barbara Mayhew,  myislandbistrokitchen.com, Charlottetown

These muffins combine cranberries with eggnog – two classic winter flavours.

CranberryEggnogMuffins

Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 45 minutes
Yield: 12-14 standard-size muffins

Ingredients
1 cup (250 mL) cranberries (fresh or frozen), coarsely chopped
1½ Tbsp (20 mL) sugar
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 mL) whole-wheat flour
⅔ cup (150 mL) lightly packed brown sugar
¼ cup (50 mL) rolled oats
1½ Tbsp (20 mL) baking powder
½ tsp (2 mL) baking soda
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
½ tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
¼ tsp (1 mL) nutmeg
⅛ tsp (0.5 mL) allspice
1 Tbsp (15 mL) grated orange rind
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
¾ cup (175 mL) eggnog
½ cup + 1 tbsp (125 mL + 15 mL) vegetable oil
⅓ cup (75 mL) mashed banana
¼ cup (50 mL) orange juice
2 Tbsp (30 mL) maple syrup
1½ tsp (7 mL) vanilla
Streusel
¼ cup + 2 tbsp (80 mL) all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp (45 mL) brown sugar
½ tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
3 Tbsp (45 mL) butter
2 Tbsp (30 mL) chopped pecans

Directions
Streusel
1. In medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar and cinnamon.
2. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in pecans. Set aside.
Muffins
1. Preheat oven to 450°F (230ºC). Grease muffin tin, including top of tin.
2. In small bowl, sprinkle chopped cranberries with 1½ tbsp sugar. Toss lightly to coat cranberries. Set aside.
3. In large bowl, combine all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, brown sugar, rolled oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and orange rind. Mix well. Set aside.
4. In liquid measure, stir together egg, eggnog, oil, mashed banana, orange juice, maple syrup and vanilla. Whisk together.
5. Pour wet ingredients into well in centre of dry ingredients. Stir just until dry ingredients are barely incorporated. Do not overmix. Gently fold in the sugared cranberries.
6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filling almost to top. Sprinkle with streusel mixture.
7. Transfer muffins to oven and immediately reduce heat to 400ºF (200ºC). Bake 20 to 22 minutes, or until muffins are just firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
8. Let muffins rest in muffin tins for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.

My Island Bistro Kitchen
My blog focuses on local Maritime foods and beverages, with a particular concentration on those produced in P.E.I. In addition to sharing my own recipes, I write stories about local food and beverage producers and feature their products in recipes that I share on my blog.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Skip the canned cranberry sauce and make it right at home — it’s super easy to make with just five ingredients! It’s also deliciously sweet and tart, with a nice hit of citrus from the orange. Make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge so you have one less step when preparing your holiday feast.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

888_cranberry-sauce

Ingredients:
1 340 g-bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 medium orange
Kosher salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Add cranberries, stock and granulated sugar to a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add the rosemary, 1 tsp orange zest and 1/4 cup orange juice from the orange. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Cover the cranberry mixture and bring to a boil. When cranberries begin to burst open, uncover the sauce and continue to simmer over medium heat.
3. Cook until the cranberries have burst and the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from the heat and cool cranberry sauce with rosemary sprigs.
4. Once cool, discard rosemary and refrigerate cranberry sauce in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months until ready to use.