Monday, December 6, 2010

Spiced Cranberry Butter in the crockpot

At this time of year I get to thinking about food gifts from my kitchen, and about ways to use up things in my fridge so I have room for all those holiday dishes, etc.  So, along that vein, yesterday I made Cranberry Butter in my crockpot... Cranberry Butter is like apple butter, only made with fresh (or frozen) cranberries rather than apples. In this case I had some cranberries I'd frozen as well as some fresh ones that I needed to use so into the crockpot they went!  After tossing the cranberries in, I added some sweetening (in this case a combination of sugar and honey) and some spices (cinnamon, clove and ginger) and then turned the crockpot on low. It cooked all day on low, smelling up the house with it's holiday goodness, and then in the evening I removed it all to my food mill and gave it a whirl to remove the skins from the cranberries. After that I put it back in the crockpot, adjusted the seasoning (adding a little more honey and some salt for flavor contrast) and let it run overnight on the "keep warm" setting with the lid ajar to allow it to thicken up a bit more.  And so this morning we have some super cranberry butter for eating and for giving... Thought I'd share the recipe and a little pic of it for anyone interested in giving it a whirl!

Cranberry Butter in the Crockpot

2-3 lbs fresh or frozen (not thawed!) cranberries
2 cups sweetener of choice (sugar, honey, maple syrup or a combination)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground clove
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp kosher salt
Place cranberries, 1 1/2 cups sweetener, cinnamon, clove and ginger in the crock of your slow cooker and turn on low for 8-10 hours. After this time, remove to a food mill or food processor and puree until smooth. Return to slow cooker and adjust sweetness to taste as well as adding the salt. Allow to continue to cook on low (or keep warm setting) with the lid ajar for another 4-6 hrs or until thickened to your liking. Freeze or water-bath can for giving as gifts.  Makes about 4 cups of butter or 4 half-pint jars.

Great on toast or biscuits or try it served over cream cheese with crackers for a great appetizer! Also great when turned into a "baked brie"...

For Baked Brie, you'll need 1 sheet puff pastry, 1 wheel of brie cheese, about 1/4 cup chopped nuts and the cranberry butter. Put the puff pastry sheet on a greased baking tray. Trim the rind off the wheel of brie then place in the center of the sheet. Top with chopped nuts and then spoon a couple of tablespoons of the cranberry butter overtop. Fold the puff pastry over all the enclose then put into a 350F oven until golden brown all over. Serve hot with some extra cranberry butter if desired. YUM!

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