Holiday Cranberry Spice Jam:
For Biscuits, Scones, Pancakes, Waffles & French Toast!
“Sleep with your spoon in your pillow…”
My friends, I just had to share with you my recipe for Cranberry Spice Jam. This jam is incredibly scrumptious and tastes just like Christmas from the spoon! I’m talkin’ straight up Currier and Ives here, folks.
Okay, don’t think I’m weird. (Even though I am.) But, fellow foodies…hear me out. Whilst preparing food, do you ever think it looks immensely gorgeous? Like sexy? The first time I ever read about food being “sexy” was by James Beard award-winning cookbook author, Maida Heatter, our beloved “First Lady of Desserts”, as she described her Palm Beach Brownies, with peppermint patties layered into the batter, as being “sexy” once sliced into bars. Right then and there, I knew we were kindred baking spirits.
Oh, yeah…I own every single cookbook Maida has ever published, too. I tease The Big Lug and tell him that he must genuflect (to kneel on one knee and then rise again as an act of respect) if he walks before “The Maida Library” in our home office. Ha!
Well, every time I make Cranberry Relish, Cranberry Sauce or this gorgeous Cranberry Spice Jam, and I add the snow-white granulated sugar crystals (yes, sometimes I use the refined type), to ruby-red gorgeous fresh cranberries, I can hear Brenda Lee singing Strawberry Snow in my head! There’s just something about the ruby-red and snow-white sugar crystal imagery, and the sugar crystals soon turning ruby-pink, which evokes the feeling of nostalgia in listening to Strawberry Snow with my Mom and sister at Christmastime while growing up. When this happens and the memories flood my mind, I find myself searching for and pulling out the CD to play. I have said this before on the blog, you’ve gotta love Mom’s music. This time, her Christmas music!
Take a listen to this beautiful-fantastical retro Christmas song so suited for children. The Amazon.com Editorial Review calls Strawberry Snow peculiar. I call it magical. Dreamy lyrics such as, “Sleep with your spoon in your pillow…” and “Mornin’ may bring, strawberry snow…” will have you swooning. Strawberries and everything strawberry was a big thing at our house growing up. Mom loved strawberries and I was born with strawberry blonde hair while my sister was born with a strawberry birthmark near a Strawberry Moon. And I just loved those freeze-dried strawberries they used to put in the corn flakes cereal by Post® and how they turned the milk pink. Don’t even get me started talking about Strawberry Pop-Tarts! However, these days, I make them from scratch.
Later, as an adult, I once bought one of the Decca recordings and, to my utter shock, when I went to play it for my Mom, it did not include Strawberry Snow. I know! Pure blasphemy. It wasn’t until I purchased the two-volume CD set, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree: The Decca Christmas Recordings [Extra Tracks, Original Recording Remastered], by Brenda Lee, that it was included.
Listen to Brenda Lee’s Strawberry Snow via YouTube and tell me this song isn’t magical!
A sweet retro story… Mom’s only celebrity encounter was Brenda Lee. Yep. Brenda Lee was appearing live at Cobo Hall in Detroit. During intermission, Mom went to the ladies room to “powder her nose”. And, guess who tapped on her shoulder to ask if she could borrow her powder compact? One lovely songbird, with the best pipes in the biz at the time, Brenda Lee! Mom said she nearly fainted but obliged the pretty songstress. When we asked if she was nice, Mom shared with us how grateful Brenda was. However, she also shared, “Of course, I immediately threw away the powder compact because Brenda was all sweaty from performing!” Mom and her storytelling. Ya gotta love it.
Let’s get back to this delicious cranberry jam situation…
Serve our Cranberry Spice Jam with warm biscuits, muffins and scones, whisk into pure maple syrup to create a special Maple-Cranberry Spice Syrup for pancakes, waffles and French toast. Whisk into vinaigrette for a cranberry infused salad dressing. Use in your baking for cookies and cakes. Or use in your cooking by whisking in mustard to baste chicken or make hors d’oeuvres, or even use as a condiment for savory sandwiches or grilled cheese. It will become an instant hit with your family and holiday guests. They will be smitten! Guaranteed.
This easy to prepare jam surely will become a holiday tradition at your house because everyone will request it over and over again over the winter holidays. Nay! They will demand it! I am telling you…it is that irresistible. Honest and truly, I could not stop eating it from the spoon as it was cooling. I couldn’t wait! You won’t be able to either.
The main difference between regular cranberry sauce and cranberry jam is that there is more liquid and sugar used in the recipe to cook down into a nice loose gel. Since cranberries have natural occurring pectin, there is absolutely no need whatsoever to add a thickener, such as tapioca starch or pectin. The recipe is just as easy to make as cranberry sauce and pulls together in no time. However, take care not to overcook it as the natural pectin will begin to break down and the jam will not set well. The best visual cue I can give is to make a loose jam knowing it will thicken even more upon cooling.
What makes our recipe for Cranberry Spice Jam wicked good? Inspired by our family’s Spiced Orange-Cranberry Sauce recipe, this jam is ruby-red gorgeous. The perfect amount of fresh orange juice or apple cider is added for adequate acidity and tartness while balanced with just the right amount of sweetness. And all it needs is a tiny whisper of spices, such as cinnamon and cloves, to enhance the citrus flavor notes and make it taste just like Christmas. Our recipe calls for all-natural fresh ingredients for a rich and flavorful jam. Nothing artificial here. Finally, the recipe is simple as it is a refrigerator-style jam yet it tastes just like what grandma used to make. Treat yourself to some homemade Cranberry Spice Jam. Use as a scrumptious condiment to spread on biscuits, muffins and scones or in your holiday baking or cooking. You won’t regret it and your holiday guests and gift recipients will think you are a rock star! What’s not to love about that?
So, sleep with your spoon in your pillow…and dream of this sugarplum of a jam, Cranberry Spice Jam. Or, better yet, whip up a batch. You won’t be sorry. It’s easy to prepare and so impressive to serve guests or to give as a holiday gift from the kitchen! If giving as a gift, just be sure to let your gift recipients know it is a refrigerator jam and should be kept in the fridge up to one week and not placed in the pantry.
Below is a Pinterest-friendly sized image to pin at Pinterest!
Inspired by our family’s cranberry sauce recipe, this jam is ruby-red gorgeous. The perfect amount of fresh orange juice or apple cider is added for adequate tartness while balanced with just the right amount of sweetness. With the added spices, it tastes just like Christmas!
- 1 (12-ounce) package fresh whole cranberries, about 3 cups or 300 grams, sorted, rinsed & dried
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (270 ml) fresh squeezed orange juice or apple cider
- 1½ to 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest, from 1 medium orange
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- Splash of orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier®, optional
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, combine cranberries, sugar, juice or cider, zest and spices. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and cook over a soft boil, stirring occasionally, to prevent scorching.
- Cook until the cranberries burst, the mixture thickens to a consistency of a loose jam coating the back of a spoon and turns deep ruby-red in color, about 15 minutes.
- While cooking, skim away and discard any foam that may rise to the top and stir often during the last 5 minutes to prevent scorching. The hot jam will thicken even more upon cooling to room temperature. Do not cook for more than 15 minutes as the naturally occurring pectin in the cranberries will begin to break down and the jam will not set up well.
- When done, remove from heat. If desired, add a small splash of orange liqueur and stir until combined. Cool to room temperature.
- Then, carefully spoon into sterilized jars and place lids on jars.
- Store jam up to 5 to 7 days covered in refrigerator.
To keep the jam longer, preserve by following manufacturer’s preparation instructions to pack and seal canning jars.
If giving jam as a gift, just be sure to let your gift recipients know it is a refrigerator jam and should be kept in the fridge up to one week and not placed in the pantry.
Original Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com
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