Gifts from the kitchen are almost always my favorite gifts to give and to receive. Last year my extended family exchanged only “edible” gifts, so there were many delicious gifts and recipes passed around! Somehow, dried cranberries seemed to make it into just about everything: granola, cookies and applesauce as gifts, and then into our meals too including salads and appetizers. This year I decided to learn to make my own dried cranberries as Wolff’s has many with locally grown New Jersey cranberries. Check out this easy recipe adapted from Cranberries.org.
- 12 ounces (1.5 cups) fresh cranberries
- 2 quarts boiling water
- ¼ cup sugar
- Wash berries thoroughly and gently.
- Place cranberries in a heat-safe bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let them sit in the water until the skin breaks free from the cranberries, but don't let the berries boil. Drain.
- If desired, coat the berries with granulated sugar. Dry cranberries in a dehydrator for approximately 10 hours.
- Store dried cranberries in the refrigerator or freezer in an airtight container. These make a great gift, but recommend that your guests keep them stored in a cool, air-tight location.
One of my favorite gifts was a jar of ready-to-make cranberry oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from my sister-in-law. The recipe is super easy and looks great in any quart size canning jar. I’m especially partial to the antique Ball jars, but they can be hard to come by.
Cranberry Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Jars
Layer the following ingredients in a jar (use a funnel to make your job easier!)
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries (read below to learn how to dry your own cranberries)
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (if desired)
Attach a tag with the following instructions, or click here to print our ready-made tag!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper. 2. In a medium bowl, beat together 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until fluffy. Add the entire jar of ingredients, and mix together by hand until well blended. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets. 3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges start to brown. Cool on baking sheets, or remove to cool on wire racks.
My sister kept the cranberry theme going last year with cranberry applesauce, using this recipe from Epicurious.com.
My favorite granola recipe includes dried cranberries and makes an excellent gift. It’s also a staple on my breakfast table; it keeps well in an air-tight container for several weeks.
- 4 cups rolled oats
- ¾ cup wheat germ
- ¾ cup oat bran
- ¾ cup finely chopped pecans
- ¾ cup finely chopped almonds
- ½ cup flaked coconut (optional)
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- ⅓ cup honey (plus extra to drizzle)
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 325.°
- Line one large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Combine the oats, wheat germ, oat bran & pecans in a large bowl.
- Stir together the maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, oil, cinnamon, & vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then pour over the dry ingredients, & stir to coat.
- Spread the mixture out evenly on the baking sheets. Drizzle with extra honey if desired.
- Bake in the preheated oven until crispy & toasted, about 20 minutes.
- Stir once halfway through.
- Cool, then stir in cranberries before storing in an airtight container.