Colorful Cooking with Cranberries

Susan Guillory shares some holiday treats based on a quintessential holiday ingredientthe cranberry.

We New Englanders would not dream of missing out on using our cheerful, indigenous Cape Cod cranberries during the winter holiday season. Whichever event you are celebrating—Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa–there is always a delicious way to serve these colorful and tasty additions. Cranberries contain powerful anti-oxidants that may reduce the risk of heart disease.

The preparation of any of these recipes can be a mindful and fun family project, especially since they can be turned into gifts for family and friends, filled with love from the kitchen:

Holiday Date Nut Roll 
Yields 8-10 slices

1/4 c walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 c pistachios, coarsely chopped
1 ½ c pitted dates
1/4 c unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 c dried cranberries (there are even ones available that are sweetened with fruit juice)

Blend pitted dates in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add cranberries and pulse a few times until lightly chopped and blended. Remove from processor and add coarsely chopped walnuts and pistachios, stirring until mixed. On a sheet of wax or parchment paper, place the mixture in the center and form into a clump, making sure everything is sticking together (it helps to dampen your hands with water to prevent the mixture from sticking to your fingers). Envelop the clump in the paper and roll until you have formed a log that is a little over an inch in diameter. Sprinkle the coconut flakes and roll until the log is coated, adding more if necessary. Cover them again with the paper and refrigerate for at least two hours. Once chilled, open up the paper and place over a board, and cut into half-inch slices. It helps to slightly roll the log after each cut to maintain shape. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Tie a holiday ribbon on each end of the roll after it is wrapped in the paper and turn it into a nice gift.


Holiday Hummus, 2 Ways


2 c cooked chick peas
1/4 c tahini
2 T lemon juice
1/4 c salt

For the base: Place chickpeas and sesame tahini into a processor and pulse until blended (you can also use a blender, but you may need to add 2T or more of chickpea liquid). 

*For a sweet version, add and mix:
1 c of coarsely chopped dried cranberries
1 t of grated lemon zest
(Children think this has a PB & Jam flavor when served on crackers)

*For a savory version, add and mix:
1 c of fine to coarsely chopped green and red bell peppers
Great gift to bring to a party to serve as a dip with chips


Cranberry Orange Sauce
Serves about 4-6

2 ½  c fresh cranberries (12 oz bag)
1/2 c freshly squeezed orange juice (you can also use ready-made juice but you will not have the zest)
1 T orange zest (optional)
2 T Arrowroot
1/2 c Agave

Place cranberries, orange juice, orange zest, and arrow root into a large pan and stir. Place the pot over high heat, stirring every so often. Bring to a boil then let simmer for 10 minutes. Sauce will last a few days in the fridge. This is also a nice accompaniment to any holiday meal and can be gifted in a pretty jar with a ribbon.