Cran-tastic!

So… I ate cookie dough for breakfast.

But in my defense, there were dried cranberries and oats in it. That’s semi-healthy, right?

Cranberries are so… Christmas-y. I strung fresh cranberries for the tree one year- despite stained fingertips (and couch), they were so lovely on the deep green branches! I love the tart flavor of a cold glass of cranberry juice in summertime. And doesn’t it seem like blog-land is filled with cranberry everything right now? Let’s face it: there is no escaping the holi-daze at this point.

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It’s in my car. It’s on the buildings. It’s even in our newspaper delivery! I sort of cringe to point out that there are just 12 days until Santa’s big scene (thank God for Amazon.com)… but truth be told, I’m totally into it!

So let’s hop on the bandwagon and get CRAN-TASTIC!

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I saw a cookie online this week that reminded me of one I made years ago. I think my co-worker and friend, Jill, made them for me and shared the recipe. (Hi, Jill!) The name is a party:  Cranberry Hootycreeks. Just what is a hootycreek? I have no idea. I googled it and apparently NO ONE knows. All that matters is that they are delicious!

The recipe describes how to make a cookie mix in a jar to give as a gift. Remember when I made the gingerbread men from a mix? It’s so much better to make your OWN mix- you know exactly what is going into it!

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Basically, each dry ingredient goes into a quart jar with a lid, in layers. Remember those sand sculptures you could make at the fair as a kid? The finished product looks kind of like that, all uneven and colorful and beautiful- and EDIBLE. Bonus.

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Throw a bow on it and a notecard with simple instructions, and POOF! The perfect hostess gift! Or a sweet present for a child’s teacher. Maybe a thoughtful drop-off for a neighbor. Or, as I called it this morning, breakfast in a jar.

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Time to get our hootycreek on! (No, really- what does it mean?)

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Some butter, an egg, and some vanilla- into a bowl. Once it’s combined, IN GOES THE JAR. All of it! You just dump it right into the bowl. I kind of love that.

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After a thorough mixing, the dough is ready. I can’t help but think that this would be a blast for kids- an easy way to make cookies without all of the tricky measuring!

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I jotted a few words onto holiday cards while the kitchen filled with the happy aroma of cookies in the oven. The finished product tasted just as scrumptious as I remembered. Something about the gooey white chocolate chips and the tart dried cranberries make for a really good cookie!

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Well, the oven was already on. The oats were out, and so were the dried cranberries. I decided to make another of my favorite recipes- homemade cranberry-cinnamon granola. I DID make it for holiday gifts last year, but really, I like to keep some in the pantry all year long. I kind of wing it with the amounts based on what tastes good, but It’s always AWESOME with raspberry yogurt- and so easy to make. Look!

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Oats, shredded coconut, and your choice of chopped nuts (I like raw almonds and pecans). Some vegetable oil and honey, a few shakes of some cinnamon, and a good stir. That’s all there is to it, folks!

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I bake it at 350 degrees for a half hour or so, stirring it often after the first ten minutes- that way it gets toasty and golden brown all over. And again, the house smelled like Christmas and cinnamon. Mmmmm.

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Once the granola has cooled a bit, it’s time for- you guessed itCRANBERRIES! I have also made the granola with dried cherries and dried blueberries, but the cranberries are my favorite.

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I love having something homemade on the pantry shelf with all of the store-bought boxed cereals. (See a cinnamon trend there?)

That’s two cranberry-full recipes. Why stop now?

I mentioned earlier today that I wanted a celebratory cocktail, and have had my eye on a recipe in particular. Have you stopped by Shutterbean? Incredible recipes, a charming, happy life, and some killer drinks. The Cranberry Rosemary Spritzer sounded divine- and festive!

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I’m best friends with making simple syrup after my summertime love affair with this lemonade. This version steeps fresh rosemary sprigs in the sweetness, too!

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That was the most difficult part of this cocktail recipe. I just poured cranberry juice, my beloved bourbon (Old No. 7 whiskey, in this case), and a ginger beer into a pitcher. I added the rosemary simple syrup and gave it a stir. As suggested, I garnished the glass with rosemary. That piney scent just feels like Christmas!

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I didn’t have any pomegranate seeds, but I was pretty content without them. The cocktail is tart from the juice, sweet from the sugar, and somehow earthy- must be the bourbon and rosemary. I’d never tried a ginger beer- it added a fizz that really completed the cocktail. DELISH!

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Super cran-tastic!

And now, I’ve got happy hour covered. Dessert is done. Oh, and tomorrow’s breakfast? Check!

Hmmm. Sounds like a great night for my sweet husband to make dinner, don’t you think?

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*I’ve got leftover Craisins- who’s got a recipe for me?*

Cranberry Hootycreeks

  • 5/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

Layer the ingredients in a 1-quart jar with a lid in the order listed.

Attach a tag with these instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat together ½ cup softened butter, 1 egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until fluffy.  Add the whole jar of dry ingredients and mix together by hand until well-blended. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto the cookie sheets.
  4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges start to brown. YUM!

Recipe from allrecipes.com

Homemade Cranberry-Cinnamon Granola

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 ¼ cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2/3 cups chopped almonds
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Toss the oats, coconut, almonds, and pecans together in a large bowl. Stir in the oil and honey. Sprinkle in the cinnamon and sugar and mix until well-coated. Pour onto a large sheet pan.
  3. Bake, stirring often, until the mixture turns an even golden brown, about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool. Mix in the cranberries. Store in an airtight container. YUM!

Recipe adapted from the Barefoot Contessa

Shutterbean’s Cranberry Rosemary Spritzers

Makes 4-5 drinks

  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ice
  • 2 cups cranberry juice (sweetened is ok)
  • 1 ¼ cup bourbon
  • 1 12 oz. bottle ginger beer
  • pomegranate seeds and rosemary sprigs for garnishing

Rosemary Simple Syrup:

Put rosemary, sugar, and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until syrup boils. Turn off heat and let rosemary steep in the syrup for at least an hour. Discard rosemary.

To make the spritzers:

In a large pitcher, mix cranberry juice, rosemary simple syrup, bourbon and ginger beer with ice. Stir well.  Garnish each glass with pomegranate seeds and a sprig of fresh rosemary. YUM!

29 replies »

  1. Your fingers (and brain) must move a million miles a minute to crank out posts like this! Those cookies remind me a LOT of my mom’s white chocolate/craisin Christmas cookies.

    I also agree that cranberry ANYTHING is the best. Like, ever.

    We have a massive jar full of craisins in the kitchen right now, but I’m pretty sure they’re nearly gone 🙂

  2. This has got to be one of my favourite recipes – the only thing missing is bacon ad crooked puppy ears but regardless it’s been bookmarked and these recipes will be made as soon as I’m finished with exams!! Thanks for sharing, my mouth is watering already!!!

  3. Wow! Looks like you had a fun day! I want in on these recipes — all of them! Thanks for the baking inspiration. I know what I’m doing this weekend.

  4. I have to say that I have never seen 5/8 of a cup of flour in a recipe :). The cookies look so yummy- thinking I’ll make these for an after school treat for three hungry boys today.

  5. Have a new cranberry white chocolate chip cookie recipe I use now but still love all the flavors mixed no matter what recipe. Making me want to bake today!!

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