cranberry sauce with oomph

Raise your hand if growing up, you only ate jellied cranberry sauce from a can?

me me me!

I know some people cringe at the thought of this squishy, gelled, goop, but I must admit I was always a fan.

I’m not sure I even knew what a whole cranberry looked like until a few years ago.  I remember the first day I bought cranberries.  How could I not, after popping a few in my mouth, RAW.  Worst decision ever.  Pretty sure I was expecting something like a grape, because I was thinking raisins come from grapes, and grapes are sweet, so cranberries must be too!

After that little number, I decided to use them as a centerpiece, and forgo making any type of sauce. 

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I guess I also avoid making this sauce because it is loaded with sugar.  There is really no way around it!  Well, maybe someone has figured out a way, but I haven’t spent much time looking.

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Despite having to use quite a bit of sugar, I tried to get a little creative with it.  Instead of 1c sugar, which is what most recipes call for, I broke it down a bit.  I used a 1/2c of brown rice syrup, which has the same grams of sugar per serving, as sugar, but does not spike your blood sugar levels in the same way.  For the other half, I split that between sucanat + unsweetened applesauce.  The applesauce was a last minute idea, that I think worked quite well. 

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This might be an excellent recipe to try using date paste with, for the sweetener.  Thanks to Gena’s lovely tutorial and information, it sounds really easy to make. 

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So what are the components of this cranberry sauce?

  • cranberries
  • sugar
  • water/juice
  • orange
  • ginger
  • cinnamon stick

I thought the ginger would add a nice warmth to the sauce and contrast with the fruity flavor of the cranberries and oranges. 

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To my surprise, I really enjoyed this and kept spooning it from the container in the fridge.  I know I must like something, when I can’t keep out of the leftovers.

After the first trial sent a shiver down my spine, from not adding enough sugar, I adjusted for trial two and it was a keeper.

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Cranberry Orange Ginger Sauce [adapted from Simply Recipes]

  • 12oz cranberries
  • 1/2c water
  • 1/2c orange juice
  • 1-2 large oranges, peeled
  • 1/2c brown rice syrup
  • 1/4c unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/4c sucanat/pure cane sugar
  • 1/2T minced ginger
  • 1/8t salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • orange zest/toasted walnuts or pecans
  1. Peel your orange and carefully slice the pith off.
  2. Cut into about 1” pieces and set aside.  Remove seeds if needed.
  3. In a large saucepan, over medium, add the cranberries, water, orange juice, brown rice syrup, apple sauce and sucanat, ginger, salt, cinnamon stick, and bring to a boil.  Stirring every minute or so.
  4. Reduce heat to simmer for about 10-12min, stirring every minute or so. 
  5. In the last 2 minutes, stir in the orange pieces.
  6. The consistency will be noticeably thicker than when you started, but it will thicken much more when chilled.
  7. Cover + chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving.
  8. Top with orange zest and/or toasted walnuts or pecans.

substitutions/comments: I used 1 1/2 large oranges in my version.  Use more or less to your preference.  You can sub 1c of pure cane sugar for the brown rice syrup, applesauce + sucanat, if desired.  Likewise, you can sub 1c of brown rice syrup/honey/maple syrup.  If you don’t have orange juice, use apple juice, or use all water.  You can buy jars of minced ginger for about $2 in the Asian food aisle, which is a steal!  If you don’t have cinnamon sticks, or want to buy them, just add 1/8t cinnamon to the mix.

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I had so much fun shooting this lovely, vibrant sauce!!  A nice change of pace from the stuffing + risotto, which were both pretty difficult to capture.

I just made a list of all the recipes I want to make before Thanksgiving and there aren’t enough days before next Thursday!  Time to prioritize.  DESSERT!

Happy Friday!