I woke up on Black Friday and decided to make cranberry sauce with vanilla. This is what happens when you’re supposed to be “as non-weight bearing as possible” and you go out for Thanksgiving dinner. You wake up the next day and realize there’s not enough cranberry sauce leftover. That’s gonna be a problem.

But I do have cranberries that I had bought to make muffins. And cranberry sauce is very easy to throw together. Sugar, some freshly squeezed orange juice or just plain water, vanilla. Wait. Bourbon has vanilla notes. Who needs just plain water? I have some lovely candied ginger in the house from Sundial Gardens, too. Problem solved.


½ cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar in the raw
¼ cup Maker’s Mark
12 oz. bag fresh or frozen cranberries
2 coins of crystallized (candied) ginger, minced fine
zest of one orange
¾ cup liquid (I squeezed 1/3 cup of juice from an orange, added enough water to make ¾ cup of liquid)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla (stir in at end)

The basic recipe is a cup of sugar, cup of water, a bag of cranberries. Where that road diverges in the wood and the path you take from there is completely up to you. 🙂

Combine the sugars and bourbon. Add all the remaining ingredients except the vanilla. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugars.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes. The cranberries will burst and the sauce will begin to thicken. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.

Your house will smell ah-MAYZ-ing! I love the smell of bourbon bubbling with brown sugar (and cranberries) in the morning!


And so will you. No more turkey at your house? Same here. Thankfully (HA, get it?) this tastes oh so good on its own, or might be nice spooned over a nice slice of pound cake, stirred into yogurt, baked with brie and puff pastry or crescent dough. So many possibilities–let me know what you decide.

Hope you’re having a warm and happy holiday weekend, amici!