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Vanilla bourbon-balsamic cranberry sauce

Vanilla bourbon-balsamic cranberry sauce

If your childhood holidays were anything like mine, you grew up believing that cranberry sauce came in a can. Your mother would slide the cylindrical, gelatinous blob onto a plate, and then slice it into little, wobbling, maroon circles. You believed that cranberries were supposed to taste like the love-child of Jell-O and jam.

If this was your experience, too, I have news for you: This recipe will elevate your cranberry sauce experience to a whole new level.

Vanilla bourbon-balsamic cranberry sauce

The idea of cooking with fresh cranberries might seem intimidating, but it is much easier than you think! By simply simmering the berries slowly with a little water and sugar, they will literally burst with all of their syrupy goodness.

The addition of balsamic vinegar enhances their natural sweet-tart flavor, while the vanilla adds contrasting warmth. Add a bit of bourbon for a grown-up taste that is quite a bit more sophisticated than the old canned stuff.

Vanilla bourbon-balsamic cranberry sauce

This sauce is the perfect addition to any savory holiday meal or to serve over cheese as an appetizer. For instance, up above, we have it poured over a lovely Brie, along with some sliced baguette. The flavor combo is pretty amazing.

And then there’s the gorgeous color. No matter how you dish it up, this vanilla bourbon-balsamic cranberry sauce will add a beautiful splash of color to your plate. (No can openers needed.)

Vanilla bourbon-balsamic cranberry sauce

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Vanilla bourbon-balsamic cranberry sauce

Ingredients

  • 14 oz. fresh cranberries
  • 1-1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients and mix well.  
  2. Bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until cranberries burst and begin to break down and thicken, about 15 minutes.  Occasionally stir well.
  3. Remove from heat, drain off 1/2 cup of liquid and reserve for another use. Pour into jar or bowl, and allow to cool.
  4. Refrigerate once cooled. Serve.

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