When Autumn temperatures arrive, delivering their cool evenings and crispy, clear mornings, many delightful memories burst back into view. The splendidly vibrant fall foliage colors reign high on the list. As a child, I remember going on long drives with family during warm Autumn days along with droves of other leaf peepers. Personally, I loved the weeks that followed just for that sensation of shuffling my feet through thick droves of dried leaves on the sidewalks. Jumping off my Grandmother’s front porch into the huge piles of leaves my Dad had just raked also scores pretty high on that hit parade list of memories… probably with my siblings and cousins, too!
Number one for me, however, remains the fact that harvesting of cranberries happens now. Whether you enjoy them sweetened in perfect sauce or relish as a side dish, nestled into a tangy pie, or sprinkled over a sweet potato casserole, yum comes to mind. I love them tart and crisp, fresh and popped in my mouth just as they come. Naturally, I also enjoy cranberries in a wide variety of recipes, too… from appetizers and sauces to salads and entrees.
As a dedicated foodie and truly good cook, I create recipes. I’ve done this since childhood, when I was taught at a very young age to not only help with family meals, but to plan and cook them, too. My earliest schoolgirl recipes don’t typically get included in cookbooks, but some could!
With cranberries scoring so high on my list of favorite foods, I naturally wanted to gather together some of my favorite cranberry recipes. So many favorite recipes abound that we actually filled a lovely volume, officially named Cranberry Cooking for the KISSTM cookbook Super Series. Quiet Thunder Publishing features the paperback and Kindle eBook digital edition, which are available for sale at sites including Amazon.com.
With little ghosts and goblins eagerly preparing their costumes to the annual Trick-or-Treat goodie-gathering ritual, I thought sharing a fitting recipe with you from Cranberry Cooking would be a good treat. While I offer Trick-or-Treaters store-bought candies also, families in the neighborhood always look forward to the homemade specialties. My Mom started me on that tradition with her specialty Gingerbread Boys. (Hmmmm… I’ll have to share her recipe in a future article.) By the time I sold the family home, I was serving up more than 200 gingerbread boys and girls, even though the house was on a dead end street requiring a tenth of a mile trek from the main road.
For the cranberry lovers, for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or the Christmas holiday season, I offer you my recipe for Cranberry Popcorn Balls. Make them as large or as small as you desire, based on how you wish to serve them. This recipe, by the way, is just one from the Cranberry Cooking cookbook.
Cranberry Popcorn Balls
3 qts popped popcorn 1-1/2 c water
1 tsp whole cloves 1 tsp whole allspice
2 whole cinnamon sticks 1 c sugar
2 c chopped frozen cranberries 2 T light corn syrup
1 T grated orange peel ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
Keep popcorn warm in 250°F oven in large, buttered baking pan. Tie cloves, allspice & cinnamon in cheesecloth; place in water in large, buttered pan over med heat. Bring to boil; cover pan, reduce heat to low; simmer 20 min. Remove spices. Stir in cranberries, sugar, corn syrup, orange peel & nutmeg; cook over med heat, stirring till mixture boils & reaches 250°F on candy thermometer. Remove popcorn from oven; drizzle syrup slowly over popcorn, stirring with wooden spoon to coat. Shape into balls. Allow to cool. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap.
KISS Note: You can add 3-4 drops of red food coloring along with the cranberries, if desired.
Yum! Enjoy all my cranberry recipe favorites… with love and laughter.
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