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!

Rainy days call for cake!

“Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” But a piece of the ginger brandy tea cake I baked yesterday made this morning a bit brighter. A cup of my favorite Imperial Velvet oolong didn’t hurt, either–both specialties of Sundial Gardens.


I wasn’t sure I wanted to highlight my second “baking with a goose egg” foray. As mentioned previously, goose eggs are tough to crack. Armed with this information, I gave ol’ goosey a nice, vigorous whack–and along came a sprinkling of shell dust. That wasn’t going to work, so I lost part of the egg there and on the stove. Very attractive–talk about not knowing your own strength! OOPS. I probably should’ve thrown another egg in, but at the time, didn’t think it was such a major loss of volume.

Long story short, it is a delicious cake, but didn’t rise like Mr. Goddard’s because he used the right amount of egg. It really is quite the treat, regardless: boozy, gingery and wonderful. Especially so because of the quality of the ginger coins they sell at Sundial. Their ginger is exceptionally perfect.

Ginger Brandy Tea Cake in all its glory

It should say something about the recipe, that even not quite right, it’s a cake I’d be proud to serve–except for the fact I keep nibbling away at it. So if you’re within driving distance and want a sample, better hurry up and get here.