What are your thoughts on cranberry sauce? Do you hate it? Or do you like the log of cranberry sauce that comes out of a can, complete with the lines from the can completely intact? If fresh, homemade cranberry sauce is your Thanksgiving style, then this tutorial on how to make cranberry sauce is perfect for you!
When I was growing up, my grandmother always made cranberry relish for Thanksgiving dinner. Fresh cranberries, whole oranges, and sugar, all ground up together. No cooking. I liked it okay but the bitterness of the orange pith made it a little much for my young tastebuds.
We really never ate the cranberry sauce that came out of a can, and honestly, I can’t even remember when or where I first tried it. I do remember, though, that when I did try it, I realized that I had been missing out on the deliciousness that is cranberry sauce.
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
And then I figured out how to make homemade cranberry sauce. I fell in love, hard, and realized that the canned stuff that you slice is just gateway cranberry sauce. I promise you, canned cranberry sauce in no way compares to homemade cranberry sauce.
Cranberries are a truly amazing little fruit. They have little pockets of air in them, and as you cook them they pop open. Full of their own natural pectin, they thicken their own sauce without the addition of packaged pectin or other thickeners. Literally, all you need to make a delicious cranberry sauce are three ingredients:
- Fresh cranberries
Cranberry Orange Sauce
I love how the flavor of orange pairs with the flavor of cranberry, so I always use some orange juice and zest to give my homemade cranberry sauce a little zip. But, if you don’t like orange or have another reason not to use it in your sauce, then just leave it out!
Click here to save this recipe to your Pinterest holiday cooking and sauce boards!
I call myself a cranberry hoarder because the second that cranberries show up in my grocery store, I start throwing a bag or two into my cart every week so that I can have frozen cranberries available all year. That way, I can have homemade cranberry sauce anytime I want it. Which means that year-round I can make my Instant Pot turkey breast and some cranberry sauce and have a Thanksgiving sandwich whenever. I. Want it.
And that, my friends, is a reason to be happy.
Yield: 2 1/4 cups
5 minPrep Time:
15 minCook Time:
20 minTotal Time:
- 1 12-ounce bag fresh or cranberries (I freeze bags of fresh cranberries, and you can just use them straight from the freezer)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water OR the juice of one large orange plus enough water to make a cup
- zest of one orange, optional
- Combine all ingredients except orange zest, if using, in a medium saucepan. Set over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce has thickened and all berries have burst. I use the spoon to gently mash the berries against the side of the pan to make sure they all burst. This takes 10-15 minutes total.
- Stir in the orange zest, if using. Place the sauce into a covered container or jar and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or up to two months in the freezer.
Knowing how to make dump cake from scratch is a valuable skill to have. Forgive the name but dump cake literally just requires dumping ingredients in a pan and baking them. This blueberry dump cake from scratch is a delicious, perfect summer recipe, and you probably have all the ingredients you need!
First of all, let me apologize to you for the name of this recipe. I hate the term “dump cake”. I mean, I get that it is called that because you literally dump the ingredients into a pan and bake them, but GAH. It just sounds very unappetizing. Ditto for “dump dinners” (I have seen a cookbook in my favorite local used book store with this name and I. Just. Can’t.).
But alas, when you write a blog you have to give the people what they are looking for, and according to Pinterest and Google, people are looking for dump cakes. Or, if they are like me, they are looking for “dump cake from scratch”.
The dump cakes from my previous experience are absolutely delicious and are made with a few basic ingredients:
- Canned pie fillings
- Cake mix
- Maybe some other ingredients like canned pineapple, brown sugar, etc., but these are not necessary.
Dump Cake from Scratch!
And you guys know me…I have an insatiable need to make everything from scratch (i.e. without a mix or a can). Mostly because I know that I am always going to have some sort of fresh or frozen fruit, butter, and dry ingredients for a cake in the house. But also because I really do, at least in theory, try to avoid processed food as much as possible (though I have not been as good at this lately. Stress, am I right?).
I did a little poking around the interwebs trying to figure out how to make a dump cake from scratch. I found a recipe on Simply Recipes and riffed on that a bit. My filling follows their formula but my dry cake is actually a divided recipe for yellow cake from the book The Perfect Cake from America’s Test Kitchen, which I somehow miraculously managed to score the Kindle edition of last week for $3.99. A miracle indeed, because ATK books never go on sale!
I used frozen blueberries for mine, but you could definitely use a variety of fruits instead. And while this may not be a literal “dump and go” recipe like the original dump cake, dump cake from scratch is still dead simple and you probably have the ingredients in your house:
- baking powder
- baking soda
Easy, right? And because when I use a bowl for dry ingredients I just wipe it out with a towel and put it back, the only dishes that I dirtied were the pan and the bowl I used to melt the butter. 100% worth it for this delicious dessert that is perfect for summer and that, by the way, I baked in my Breville Smart Oven so I didn’t even have to heat up my kitchen.
Oh yeah – vanilla ice cream is non-negotiable. Don’t even try.
This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click the link and make a purchase from Amazon, I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the cost to you. For more information, please see my disclosures. Thank you for supporting my blog!
Products used for this recipe:
Yield: 1 9x13 inch cake
This recipe is adapted from Simply Recipes and from the book A Perfect Cake from America's Test Kitchen.
10 minPrep Time:
45 minCook Time:
55 minTotal Time:
- 3 pounds fresh or frozen fruit (there is no need to thaw frozen fruit)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- pinch salt
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks or 12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
- Vanilla ice cream, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 375? Fahrenheit.
- In a 9x13 inch pan, combine the fruit with the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sprinkle the dry cake ingredients evenly over the fruit mixture.
- Use a spoon to drizzle the melted butter evenly over the dry cake mixture.
- Bake the cake for 35-45 minutes, until the cake is light golden on top and the fruit is bubbling. Frozen fruit may need to bake slightly longer (my fruit was frozen and I baked my cake for 55 minutes). There may be a few small patches of dry ingredients on top. I just smoothed these with a spoon.
- Cool the cake for at least an hour before serving. I know that this is a difficult step but eating the cake too soon will result in unpleasant mouth burns! Vanilla ice cream is non-optional!
Apple blondies with walnuts and whiskey caramel are (1) rich; (2) decadent; (3) perfect for Fall; and (4) made in one bowl. ONE BOWL! Scroll down for the video.
Apples = Fall Food
Apple Blondies? Yep, apple blondies. With walnuts. Maybe I’ve mentioned here a time or two that apples are pretty much a quintessential Fall food for me? One day recently I was struck with the need for a chewy, cinnamon-y bar cookie full of apples. Apple-walnut blondies. And they would be topped with caramel sauce. With salt. And whiskey. Definitely whiskey.
One Bowl Baking
It didn’t take me much digging to find a recipe that was perfect for adapting to make exactly what I needed. Yvonne Ruperti’s book One-Bowl Baking has a whole section devoted to bar cookies, which makes sense because what use is a bar cookie if it isn’t easy? Brownie, blondies, lemon squares, magic bars…they are perfect desserts because they come together quickly and don’t require rotating through cookie sheets over and over and over.
It took a little playing around to get the recipe right…turns out that when you throw a couple of apples into the batter it adds enough volume to require 15 or 20 more minutes of baking. No biggie, though. That just gives you a little extra time to stir together the caramel, which I promise you won’t want to omit. Though you can leave out the whiskey (I used Chattanooga Whiskey, by the way) if you must. And the salt, though I really have no idea why you would do that.
Moderation is Key
Another thing…if you bake these apple blondies in an 8×8 pan you will look at the pan and think to yourself, “Maybe I should just cut nine squares.” Don’t do it. If you do, you will end up with a stomach ache. No one really ever thinks of fruity desserts as rich, but this one, full of butter and white sugar and brown sugar, is, especially when accompanied by homemade caramel and some ice cream (not pictured…it really doesn’t need ice cream at all).
After the 9-bar debacle, I made these again and took them to work, this time cut into 32 pieces. I came home with 4 pieces. I’d call that success. I didn’t share my caramel, because I wanted to hoard it in my fridge for dipping apples and pear slices and spoons into. And that’s exactly what I did.
Apple blondies with walnuts and whiskey caramel are perfect for a get-together or just a fun snack or dessert for your family!
This post contains an affiliate link. This means that if you click the link and make a purchase on Amazon, I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the cost to you. For more information, please see my disclosures. Thank you for supporting my blog!
Yield: 9-16 blondies
15 minPrep Time:
40 minCook Time:
55 minTotal Time:
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons ((90 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons whiskey (I used Chattanooga Whiskey)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 13 tablespoons (185 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 2/3 cup (330 grams) packed brown sugar, light or dark
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cup (245 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (I used MacIntosh)
- 3/4 cup (85 grams) walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
- For the caramel: using a wooden spoon, stir the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat until melted and light golden in color. Be sure to stir constantly and don’t let it burn! Add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, stirring each until melted before adding the next. Be careful as the sugar will bubble when add the butter and boiling sugar is essentially the same as boiling hot lava. Once all the butter is melted, add the heavy cream and, with the heat turned off, the whiskey. Turn the heat back on and boil for one minute, continuing to stir constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt. Allow to cool until no longer molten before serving.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Liberally butter an 8-inch square baking pan.
- In a large bowl, use a sturdy spoon to stir together the butter, brown sugar, salt, and vanilla until well combined and smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and stir until completely combined.
- Add the flour, baking powder and baking soda, and cinnamon. Stir until well combined. Fold in the apples and walnuts.
- Spread the batter in the prepared baking pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the pan then cut into 9 or 16 pieces. Serve with warm caramel.
Print the recipe for apple-walnut blondies!
Banana beer bread with chocolate chips is a delicious and simple to make bread that is just sweet enough for dessert but you can eat it for breakfast too! Scroll down for video.
Do You Make Banana Bread?
Things I never make:
- Banana bread
Weird, right? Banana bread is one of those super-basic things that everyone makes. But I really never do. I mean, until now. Because what else are you going to do when you have four super-ripe bananas about to start attracting flies in your kitchen?
Chocolate Chip Banana Beer Bread
You get your husband to bring a brown ale home from work and you make banana beer bread. Yep. Plus chocolate chips, because in my humble opinion banana bread is always made better by the addition of chocolate.
I was pretty concerned that this banana beer bread would turn out too wet. There is a lot of liquid in there. It turned out perfectly, though – so moist and sweet enough for dessert but wholesome enough for breakfast (because bananas and whole wheat flour). Put your banana beer bread in the fridge, though. I didn’t. It did not end well.
Since I made this banana beer bread, maybe I’ll up the ante on my banana bread making game. Banana bread is one of the few ways that I can get Philip to consume bananas, and if beer is included, even better (the brown ale that I used was Maduro Brown Ale from Cigar City Brewing, and I have also had great luck with Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale).
Yield: 1 8 1/2 inch loaf
15 minPrep Time:
1 hrCook Time:
1 hr, 15 Total Time:
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (or 1 cup all-purpose flour and 3/4 cup whole wheat flour - I used white whole wheat)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 very ripe bananas
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup brown ale
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350?. Spray a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan with nonstick spray or grease with butter.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas then stir in the butter, eggs, brown sugar, and beer.
- Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture. Add the chocolate chips and stir until no dry spots remain. Pour into the prepared loaf pan.
- Bake the banana bread for 55 minutes to an hour, rotating the pan halfway through baking. When the bread is done, a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
- Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and let it cool completely before serving.
This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the cost to you. For more information, please see my disclosures. Thank you for supporting my blog!