A few weeks ago I signed up to participate in another blogger recipe challenge. Participating in these types of challenges provides me the opportunity to work with new products and gets my creative juices flowing! This particular challenge is sponsored by Cape Cod Select and is all about cranberries! Woo Hoo! Cranberries have always been one of my all time favorite foods. They are incredibly versatile. Think way past cranberry sauce. Think savory dishes. Certainly think desserts. And don’t forget about beverages. Those precious cranberry gems not only add great flavor and color to all of your recipes, but they also add a great nutritional boost.
The family behind Cape Cod Select Cranberries is the Rhodes. For over 70 years, they have been harvesting these delicious cranberries in Southeastern Massachusetts, the heart of “Cranberry Country”. They select the ripest, freshest fruit to package and are proud to provide a premium quality product to their customers. Discover more about this great company on their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Cape Cod Select offers fresh cranberries for sale from October – December, as well as frozen cranberries all year round. Be sure to check out their online store for delivery right to your front door. Or maybe you will surprise yourself, like I did, and discover that these fantastic cranberries are available from your local grocery store. No joke, I had been searching high and low for frozen cranberries with no success. After using the Cape Cod Select Store Locator, I discovered that their frozen cranberries were available right down the street!
As part of the challenge I received two bags of Cape Cod Select Frozen Cranberries to work with. From the moment I opened the bags I knew that these cranberries were unique. First of all they were the plumpest and most vibrant cranberries that I had ever seen. I couldn’t wait to get started creating…and creating I certainly did. I tested five different recipes and have narrowed those down to my three favorites to share with you this week.
First up are my Two Bite Chocolate Cranberry Cookie Cups. These cuties are simple to make and are the perfect balance of tart and sweet. My family devoured both batches that I made. For those of you who follow a gluten free diet, I have good news for you; one of my test batches was gluten free (and they were equally delicious). For a gluten free variation, follow the recipe below, but substitute an equal amount of gluten free flour blend in lieu of traditional flour.
Two Bite Chocolate Cranberry Cookie Cups
2 cups Cape Cod Select Premium Frozen Cranberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider (equal amounts of apple juice or water may be substituted)
3 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup salted butter, cut into thin slices (about 1/4″ thick)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 & 1/4 cup all purpose, unbleached flour, sifted
1 & 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips (60%), divided
powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly spray a 24 cup miniature muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
Place the Cape Cod Select Premium Frozen Cranberries and apple cider into a pot. Stir together. Cover and cook over low heat. Be sure to check the cranberries every few minutes and stir. Once the cranberries have begun to release liquid (after approximately 3-5 minutes), add in the granulated sugar. Stir. Cover and continue to cook, increasing the heat to medium. Once the cranberries begin to break open (likely after 5-7 minutes), remove the lid and continue to cook until the mixture thickens. During the cooking process use a wooden spoon to crush and breakdown the cranberries. In the final minutes of cooking the mixture will thicken quickly and you will notice that all of the residual liquid will have thickened. Remove the cranberry filling from the pot and place in bowl. Set aside.
Place the cream cheese and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Cream together for 2 minutes or until both are incorporated and fluffy. Add in the vanilla and powdered sugar; mix for 1 minute. Gradually add in the sifted flour, mixing until just incorporated.
Using a tablespoon sized spring loaded scoop, scoop out level tablespoons of dough. Roll the dough into a small ball. Gently press the dough into the prepared miniature muffin tins. The dough should come up the sides but not come over the top of the opening.
Melt 1/2 cup of chocolate chips according to package instructions. Place 1/2 teaspoon of melted chocolate into the bottom of each prepared cookie cup. Next, place a generous 1/2 teaspoon of the cranberry filling on top of the chocolate.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown.
Gently remove the cookie cups and transfer to a cooling rack.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Melt the remaining cup of chocolate chips according to package instructions. Carefully dip the bottom half of the cookie cup in the melted chocolate.
Place onto the parchment lined baking sheet to set. You may place the baking sheet in the refrigerator to speed the setting along. Once the chocolate is set, place 1-2 tablespoons of powdered sugar into a handheld sifter; sift a bit of sugar over the tops of the cookies.