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The 12 Days of Cranberry Christmas Treats

In this fun post I’m going to share 12 of my favorite holiday recipes involving those tart and delicious seasonal berries known as cranberries!

What are Cranberries, Anyway?

Cranberries are small, tart, red berries native to North America. Unlike other berries, they are commonly found in acidic bogs and marshes.

Cranberries are incredibly versatile, as I have discovered over the past two years as I’ve used them in all sorts of dishes, from cakes, to cookies, to bread.

You can eat cranberries in a variety of forms: fresh, dried (dehydrated), and as a tasty juice. These little berries are known for their distinctive tart flavor, which is usually sweetened in baked goods.

Common Ways Cranberries are Used

The 12 Days of Cranberry Christmas Treats

When I was growing up I don’t remember seeing cranberries much. But I do remember my mama drinking cranberry juice cocktail, one of her favorite beverages. She would often merge it with sprite or something else bubbly, to give it extra pizazz.

Here are just some of the ways people enjoy cranberries these days:

  1. Cranberry Sauce: You can cook cranberries with sugar to make a delicious cranberry sauce that (I think) is light years better than the stuff in a can. (Though, not all of your relatives will agree with you on that.)
  2. Dried Cranberries: You might know them as “Craisins” and you’ve probably baked with them. These dried cranberries are sweetened and not as tart as the fresh berries, which makes them perfect for salads, trail mixes, and desserts.
  3. Cranberry Juice: As I mentioned above, Mama drank her cranberries. She loved a good cranberry juice cocktail. I do, too! When I came down with a cold recently my daughter dropped off Cran-Grape and Sprite to make me feel better. (There’s just something about that combination!)
  4. Cranberry Baked Goods: Whether you’re baking holiday muffins, cakes, breads, or cookies, there’s always a way to incorporate cranberries. People just love them during the holidays!
  5. Fresh Cranberries: I love to sugar my fresh cranberries to use as decor on baked goods, (like my Sparkling Cranberry Cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream).

Why are Cranberries Popular During the Holiday Season?

Cranberries get high visibility during the Christmas season for a variety or reasons. Here are the top three reasons that come to mind:

  1. Harvest Season: The obvious reason you see so many cranberry dishes during the fall and winter seasons is simple. Harvest season for cranberries in North America most often occurs from September through November. This just happens to coincide with the holiday season, which means that fresh cranberries are readily available during this time of year. Perfect!
  2. Traditional but Versatile: Cranberries are a versatile fruit that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. That’s why you’ll see them on many holiday tables in cranberry sauce, cranberry relish, and so on. You will also find them in desserts, salads, stuffing, and beverages. You can totally get creative with cranberries on the menu! Plus, they add a tartness to the dishes you don’t get from many other holiday foods.
  3. Color and Festive Appeal: Cranberries are a lovely vibrant red. This is visually appealing and aligns well with the festive colors associated with the holiday season. Cranberries are often used in decorations, centerpieces, and other holiday-themed arrangements, contributing to the overall festive atmosphere.

Cranberries have become a staple in many holiday recipes, contributing to the overall festive and celebratory atmosphere.

Should I use Fresh or Frozen Cranberries in my Baking?

The 12 Days of Cranberry Christmas Bakes

Enjoy these 12 recipes, loaded with cranberry goodness!

That’s it for this post, friends! I hope you enjoy these delicious recipes. 

If you make any of these recipes and enjoy them, don’t forget to leave a review and a comment below. And while you’re at it, go ahead and pin some photos to your Pinterest boards!

About the Author

Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 165 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.

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