Lemon Thyme and Ginger

Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote

Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote recipe.

I love breakfast food and often find it difficult to decide what meal I want when we go out for brunch. It is always a toss-up between ordering eggs, like Eggs Benedict or in the pancake / french toast category. Breakfast meals are sweet and savory comfort foods that just make the day start off on a happy note. French toast made with good quality bread soaked in a light vanilla custard always makes me happy. Yet today, I wanted to do something slightly different with some make in advance options and fruit topping. Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote, is a special occasion breakfast or brunch with easy do-ahead preparations.

Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote recipe.

Baked French Toast

The type of bread is the first key ingredient. I recommend a Country White Boule or Country White Sourdough Boule. The bread is sturdy and will hold up to an overnight soaking without falling apart. I bought my Country White Sourdough Boule at Whole Foods. It does not have a thick crust which is better suited for french toast. Challah or Brioche are other good choices, but I have yet to test them in this recipe. I do not recommend using regular sandwich bread as it will just fall apart before you start.

Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote recipe.

Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote recipe.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I make french toast by the time I get to the last 4 pieces the egg and milk custard is used up and I need to make more. The first slices of french toast soaked up more than their fair share of custard leaving none to spare for the last few slices. In this recipe, you soak all the bread slices at the same time overnight and every slice gets an even soaking of vanilla-nutmeg custard.

Another advantage of making baked french toast, is you bake the slices of bread at the same time in the oven. This frees up the cooks’ time to enjoy a cup of coffee or make the compote. At first, I was doubtful that baking the french toast would produce browned slices of french toast, but it does. Baked french toast has a great texture with crispy and buttery browned edges and soft and tender insides.

Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote recipe.

Apple Cranberry Compote

The compote combines fresh apples and cranberries with a spiced apple cider reduction. The fruit is gently cooked in butter until the cranberries start to pop. For this recipe, I reduced the amount of sugar, so you can taste the fruit and not the sugar. The cranberries are tart and contrast with the sweet apples. If the cranberries are too tart feel free to add more sugar a tablespoon at a time but make sure all the sugar dissolves before you remove the compote off the heat.

I made the compote with Fuji apples because they were on sale, but any apple that keeps its’ shape will work. Golden Delicious apples,  Granny Smith apples, or Gala apples are all good choices. If you use Granny Smith apples, then you may need more sugar.

Use real apple cider and not apple juice. It just does not taste the same using apple juice. The apple cider reduction is flavored with cinnamon and fresh ginger, that steep in the apple cider while it simmers. Real maple syrup and orange juice add natural sugar to sweeten the compote giving the compote extra flavor the highlights the fruit and not the sugar.

Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote recipe.

Inspiration

This recipe is inspired by and adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine, December 2001, Eggnog French Toast with Cranberry Apple Compote.  I love the idea of using eggnog for the custard in French toast, but I decided to tone down the amount of sugar in the compote, and over-the-top sweetness in store-bought eggnog. In this recipe, I use half-and-half and milk in the base with eggs, and flavor the custard with vanilla, sugar and freshly grated nutmeg. If the eggnog custard appeals to you, substitute the milk and half & half with 4 cups (1 quart) of eggnog and only use 4 eggs instead of 7. Also, do not add sugar to the mix.

Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote recipe.

Useful Tool

Transferring the saturated bread slices from the baking dish to the sheet pan, and turning them over to brown, requires a thin and flexible spatula. The best tool is a fish spatula and is the most versatile kitchen tool I own. The flexible and thin metal base easily slides under all types of food and does not stick to the surface like with most spatulas. I own the Victorinox one, but the Wusthof fish spatula is highly recommended by America’s Test Kitchen.

More Breakfast Love

Baked Oatmeal with Apples and Apricots

Airy Banana Oat Pancakes

Smoky Maple Apple Dutch Baby

Orange Spice Belgian Waffles

Baked Eggs with Sautéed Greens and Yogurt Sauce

Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote recipe.

More Cranberry Love

Triple C Cranberry Sauce

Wild Rice Stuffing with Mushrooms and Cranberries

Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail

#yesyoucranberry

This recipe is part of a collaborative social media project featuring the beloved fall fruit, cranberries. This collaboration would not exist without the efforts of Ruth and Rebecca of @squaremealroundtable and Annie Garcia of @whatannieseating. Thank you, Annie, Rebecca, and Ruth for all your efforts and keeping the seasonal collaborative projects going. Check out what all the food bloggers and Instagramers have created by following #yesyourcranberry on Instagram or click on the links below.

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Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote recipe.

Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote

It is easy to enjoy a special breakfast when half the work is done the night before. In fact, all parts of the recipe are easily made in advance. The hearty bread soaks overnight in a nutmeg flavored cream, then baked in the oven the following morning. Top off the French Toast with apple cranberry compote for a sweet and tangy breakfast. Baking the French toast creates French toast with crispy edges and a soft middle, plus all the slices are done at the same time. 

I deliberately used less sugar in the fruit compote and custard, because every baked French toast breakfast I’ve eaten is cloyingly sweet. I like the tartness of the cranberries to counter the sweet apples. Add more sugar, either in the egg custard or fruit compote to your taste, but please use restraint. Or, pass some maple syrup around with the french toast and apple cranberry compote if you prefer the compote with a more syrupy consistency and sweeter.

This recipe is inspired by and adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine, December 2001, Eggnog French Toast with Cranberry Apple Compote.

Course Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine American
Keyword Apple Cranberry Compote, Baked French Toast
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Overnight soak 8 hours
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author Ginger

Ingredients

French Toast

  • 1 ¾ - 1 lb. (350 - 450 g) loaf of Country White Boule
  • 7 eggs
  • 2 cups (500 ml) half and half
  • 2 cup (500 ml) whole milk
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 TB (24 g) sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 TB (56 g) melted butter divided for the baking pan and top of French toast during baking

Apple Cranberry Compote

  • 2 cups (500 ml) apple cider
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 1/4-inch (.5 cm) slices of fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) real maple syrup
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) orange juice
  • 6 TB (74 g) butter divided
  • 3 apples cut into ½” pieces
  • 2 cups (500 ml) fresh cranberries
  • 2 TB (24 g) sugar

Instructions

Prepare the French Toast

  1. Cut the boule in half across the equator, then cut each half in 1-inch (2.5 cm) slices. Arrange the bread slices on their sides, equally divided between two buttered 9 x 13 xx 2 inches (23 x 33 x 5 cm) baking dishes. Set aside.

  2. In a medium-size bowl, beat the eggs with a fork or wire whisk until blended. Add the milk, half and half, vanilla, nutmeg, and sugar and whisk until combined.
  3. Pour half of the egg-milk mixture into one baking dish with the bread slices, then pour the remaining in the second baking dish. Cover each dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Bake the French Toast

  1. Preheat the oven at 450°F (230°C / Gas Mark 8) with rack in the middle position.
  2. Melt the butter then use half of the melted butter to baste a rimmed sheet pan, large enough to hold all the slices of french toast. Arrange the bread slices, on their sides, on the sheet pan. A thin flexible spatula is the best tool or an offset spatula. Baste the remaining melted butter to on the top of each slice.

  3. Bake for 10 minutes. Carefully turn the bread slices over then continue to bake 10 minutes more, or until each slice is golden brown with crispy edges and soft in the middle.

  4. Serve the baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote

Apple Cranberry Compote

  1. Make the apple cider reduction
  2. Add the apple cider, cinnamon stick, slices of ginger, maple syrup, and orange juice to a medium saucepan on medium-high heat. Bring the cider to a boil then turn down the heat slightly to keep a brisk boil. Cook until the cider reduces to 1 cup, (250 ml), about 20 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and ginger slices. Whisk in 2 TB of butter.

  3. Meanwhile, melt 4 TB of the butter in a large pot like a Dutch Oven. Add the apple pieces and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cranberries and sugar, stir then cook until the cranberries pop and the fruit begins to soften but maintains their shape.
  4. Add the apple cider reduction to the apples and cranberries, stir and cook at a simmer for 3 minutes.
  5. The compote can be made up to two days in advance, stored in an airtight container and refrigerated until ready to serve. Heat up on the stove, then serve.
  6. Serve with the Baked French Toast.

#Yesyoucranberry Links

What Annie’s Eating Cranberry Mojitos

Square Meal Round Table’s Cranberry Orange Streusel Pie

Easy and Delish — Avocado Cranberry Hummus Dip

Flottelottehaan Buchteln with Cranberry Oranges Jam

The Cooking of Joy’s Cranberry Curd Tart

Jessie Sheehan Bakes – Cranberry Buckle

Ciao Chow Bambina – Cranberry Pecan Cracker Spread

Baking The Goods – Cranberry Apple Brown Butter Crumble Pie

Katiebird Bakes – Cranberry Sauce Breakfast Rolls

Crumb Top Baking’s Cranberry Orange Overnight Oatmeal Muffins

The Baking Fairy – Vegan Cranberry Apple Bundt Cake

You Can Live Rich On Less – Cranberry Cherry Tarts

Sift & Simmer – White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Bappy Girl – https://bappygirlyum.blogspot.com/

Ronnie Fein – Baked Goat Cheese with Honey Sauce and Cranberries:  http://www.ronniefein.com/blog/on-hanukkah-lets-not-forget-that-a-woman-played-a?rq=Cranberries

Lemon Thyme and Ginger https://lemonthymeandginger.com/baked-french-toast-apple-cranberry-compote

Cranberry Agua Fresca with Mint and Lime: http://www.holajalapeno.com/2016/11/cranberry-agua-fresca.html

Cranberry Pie with Dried Figs and Cashews: http://www.ronniefein.com/blog/honey-cashew-pie

Susannah Chen’s Cranberry Pico de Gallo

Katherine in Brooklyn: Cranberry Cinnamon Buns

Pie Girl Bakes: Dark Chocolate Chunk Cranberry Cookies

Clean Plate Club: Glazed Cream Puffs with Cranberry Buttercream

Tiny Kitchen Capers: http://www.tinykitchencapers.com/white-chocolate-cranberry-oatmeal-cookies/

Le Petit Eats: Dark Chocolate Tart with Cinnamon Sugared Cranberry

Prickly Fresh’s: Cranberry Crostini with Prosciutto & Port Salut

Zestful Kitchen: Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Curd

Simple and Sweet Food: Fresh Ricotta and Spiced Cranberry Crostini

 

 

;Baked French Toast with Apple Cranberry Compote recipe. Baked french toast recipe and topped with an apple cranberry compote. Soak the french toast overnight then bake them in the oven while you make the fruit compote. A festive breakfast the for holiday season.

© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Cookie Crust

Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Cookie Crust recipe.

When I was a child, I thought pumpkin was as an exotic vegetable and therefore everything made with pumpkin was nothing short of extraordinary. Back in the 60’s and 70’s in California, pumpkins were exotic because sugar pumpkins were not sold at the grocery, only Jack-O’Lantern pumpkins. As a result, pumpkin pie was my favorite pie of all with its sweet winter squash flavor and warm spices.

I collected pumpkin pie recipes like some men and women collect shoes. This recipe is a combination of two pumpkin pie recipes, one for the crust and the other for the pumpkin filling. For the crust, I am using Alton Brown’s gingersnap cookie crust from his pumpkin pie recipe. Beautiful and decorative pie crusts are wonderful to look at, but if you want to get anything else done the day you make a pie, scaling down the prep work is essential. Gingersnap cookie crust pops with bright molasses and ginger and is a breeze to make. This gingersnap cookie crust really jazzes up the flavor of pumpkin pie.

For the pumpkin filling, I adapted an old recipe from,  Bon Appetit Magazine, by Selma Brown Morrow, The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie. The pie crust is sweet, decorative and temperamental which is why I nixed it. However, the filling is silky and rich from sour cream with deep pumpkin flavor. My primary changes for the pumpkin filling are with the spices. I went all out with the spice blend and reduced the amount of cinnamon and added in some freshly grated nutmeg and ground clove. I kept remembering what I like so much in my pumpkin bread and realized it was how the ground clove lingered in the background boosting up the flavors of the other spices.

Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Cookie Crust recipe.

Easy Holiday Baking

For big holiday menus with almost as many dishes as there are guests, it is reassuring to know there is at least one course that requires a minimum of your attention. Even better, you can make this pie 24 hours in advance. I highly recommend that you do. This gives the pie plenty of time to set, chill and the flavors to meld. Plus, this is a hassle-free crust. All you need to do is pulverize the cookies in a food processor and add melted butter. No cracking, no chilling, or shrinking, just press into a glass pie plate and blind bake for 10 minutes.

While the cookie crust cools you then can mix the pumpkin filling by hand, then pour into the par-baked crust and bake. The hardest thing to do after making this pie is waiting for it to cool. Like most custards, the pie is removed from the oven just before it is completely set. You cannot cut into the pie until it is completely cool. This will take at least 3 hours. I recommend making it the day before and you will not have to worry about timing it just right. Store the pie in the refrigerator until just before serving.

Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Cookie Crust recipe.

Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Cookie Crust recipe.

Pumpkin Pie Filling

Pumpkin pie filling is essentially a custard, but fortunately for this recipe, there is no need to cook the eggs and cream before adding them into the pumpkin purée. To help thicken up the custard, a small amount of cornstarch is added but you really do not notice it. Sour cream also helps lightens and enriches the pumpkin filling but it does not leave a tangy taste in your mouth. Instead, it helps create the silky smooth texture.

Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Cookie Crust recipe.

The trick to determining if your pie is done is to perform the jiggle test. Your custard is done baking when you gently jiggle the pie plate and the filling wobbles like Jello. Plus the middle does not look wet and runny. Cooking times can vary depending on your type of pie plate and how consistent your oven temperature is. Therefore, I recommend starting to check your pie 10 minutes before the projected finish time in the recipe. You know you overcooked the custard if there is a crack in the custard filling. Have not worries if it cracks, it will still taste delicous and you can always cover the crack with whippped cream.

Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Cookie Crust recipe.

You can also make this pie with other winter squash, especially Kabocha squash. Check out my Kabocha Coconut Curry Soup recipe to learn more about this delicious winter squash.

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Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Cookie Crust recipe.

Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Cookie Crust

Pumpkin pie is one of my favorite pies and for many years I collected pumpkin pie recipes like some people collect shoes. This recipe is an adaptation of two different pumpkin pie recipes, the cookie crust is from Alton Brown on Food Network and the pumpkin pie filling is adapted from a favorite pumpkin pie recipe in Bon Appetite Magazine by Selma Brown Morrow. 

What is like about this combination is the gingersnap cookie crust is effortless and comes together in about 6 minutes. This is great for the moments when you need to put your efforts into the other parts of the meal but still get a delicious dessert. 

The pumpkin filling is creamy and rich with fresh nutmeg and ground ginger as the forward spices in the pie. I love freshly ground nutmeg and wanted to feature that spice with the pumpkin. If you own a fine Microplane grater, use that to grate the nutmeg. 

If you do not own a food processor, you can still easily make this recipe. See the notes for directions. 

This pie can be made 24 hours in advance and stored in your refrigerator until serving.

Serve chilled and with whipped cream. 

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Pie recipe, Pumpkin Pie, Thanksgiving dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Cooling/ Chilling time 3 hours
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Ginger

Ingredients

Gingersnap Cookie Pie Crust

  • 6 oz (171 g) gingersnap cookies
  • 1 TB (16 g) dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp (2 g ground ginger
  • 1 oz (31 g) unsalted butter, melted

Pumpkin Filling

  • ¾ cup (164 g) sugar
  • 1 TB (13 g) packed brown sugar
  • 1 TB (8 g) cornstarch
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • ¼ tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 - 15 oz (425 g) can solid pack pumpkin
  • ¾ cup (200 ml) heavy cream
  • ½ cup (104 g) sour cream
  • 3 large eggs

Instructions

For the crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C / Gas Mark 4) 

  2. Add the gingersnap cookies, brown sugar, and ground ginger to the bowl of a food processor. Process until the cookies become fine crumbs. Drizzle the melted butter into the finely ground cookie crumbs. Pulse several times, about 8-10 to combine.
  3. Tip the gingersnap cookie mixture into a 9-inch glass pie pan. Press the cookie mixture across the bottom and up the sides of a dish. If you own a metal pie pan, press it into your glass pan with the cookie crust to help form the shape your cookie pie crust. Press up the sides and into the crevasse of your pie to make an even thickness all the way around and across the bottom of the pie.
  4. Place the pie plate on a rimmed sheet pan then into your preheated oven. Bake for 10 -12 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes. Turn down the oven to 325°F (160°C / Gas Mark 3).

Pumpkin filling

  1. In a small bowl, blend the 3 eggs with a fork until evenly combined and no visible egg whites are showing. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, cornstarch, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt until no clumps are visible. If you need, get your clean hands in there to break up the brown sugar lumps.
  3. Stir in the pumpkin, heavy cream, sour cream and beaten eggs until blended.
  4. Pour the pumpkin filling into a pitcher, or anything large enough to hold the pumpkin filling and has a spout. Place the rimmed sheet pan with the pie crust back into the oven, on the middle rack. Extend the rack for easy access and pour the filling into the center of the pie plate. Fill the pie crust to just at the edge of the rim and no more. You will have extra filling, which you can use later. Carefully slide the rack into the oven and bake the pie until it is just set about 55 minutes. Start checking if your pie is done, after 45 minutes to make sure you do not over bake your custard. You can tell the pie is done when you jiggle the pie plate and the filling wobbles like jello and it does not look wet in the center.

    If the pie cracks, it means it is overcooked. No worries though it will still taste great, and you can cover the crack with whipped cream if you want to.

  5. Cool the pie completely before cutting and serving. Refrigerate the pie once cooled slightly and up to 24 hours ahead. Serve with whipped cream. 

    Keep leftovers in the refrigerator. 

  6. Can be made one day ahead.

Recipe Notes

If you do not own a food processor you can still make with pie crust. All you need is a Ziplock bag and a rolling pin or mallet, like a meat mallet. Fill a Ziplock bag with the gingersnaps and partially close the bag. Push out as much air as possible then zip the bag closed. Lag the bag filled with cookies on a flat surface and whack the side of the bag with your mallet, gently hitting and crushing your cookies. Keep banging away until the cookies resemble a fine sand. 

Add the crumbs to a large bowl then add the melted butter and ground ginger. Stir to combine. Proceed with the recipe at step 3 of the cookie crust.  

Leftover pie filling:

Pour leftover pie filling into buttered ramekins. If you want, coat the inside of your ramekins with ground gingersnaps or ground nuts like hazelnuts or pecans. Place the filled ramekins in a baking dish and fill with warm water until it reaches halfway up the ramekins. Bake in a 325°F (160°C) oven until set in the middle, but jiggles, about 30 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Hickory Smoked Turkey

Hickory Smoked Turkey recipe.

If you ever want to impress someone with an incredible meal, there is no need to look further then this recipe. Apple cider brined, hickory smoked turkey is impressive and the best turkey I have ever had. I am not exaggerating. Oh my god, this smoked turkey is so good you will dream about it and want to eat turkey more than once a year.

What is so special about hickory smoked turkey? Everything. First off, the turkey bathes in an apple cider brine for 24 hours. This is not your ordinary brine, but one built with layers of flavor from oranges, fresh ginger, cloves, garlic, and bay leaves. Next, more flavor permeates the turkey from the smoke in a charcoal grill. Hickory wood chips scattered over hot briquettes create a smoke with sweet and woody notes that pair nicely with the apple cider infused turkey. The end result is a turkey that is moist and tender, with a fall fruit-smokiness and love in every bite.

Hickory Smoked Turkey recipe.

I realize that I am on a trend of making absolute, “This is the one recipe you ever need” statements like I also made for my roasted vegetable stock recipe. I promise not to make this a habit because when I do say it, I want you to believe it. Honestly, I have never tasted turkey so good. Even my daughter-in-law, who does not like turkey, stated she loves this smoked turkey and will eat it without any hesitation or obligation. You know the meal is a success when everyone keeps picking away at the remaining pieces of turkey on the platter throughout the night.  I started to wonder if there was going to be any leftovers for turkey sandwiches.

Mastering Smoked Turkey

First off, the brine recipe and smoking technique are from my trusted grilling source, Weber.com. I own a kettle charcoal grill, so this recipe is written using a charcoal grill. If you own a gas grill, brine the turkey with the apple cider brine then, follow these directions for smoking a turkey on a gas grill.

Other than the turkey and brining ingredients,  you also need some special equipment.

  • Container large enough to hold the turkey with the brine, or large plastic bag
  • Cooler or refrigerator
  • A couple of bags of ice for the cooler
  • 2-3 large heavy-duty aluminum roasting pans. One for the bottom of the grill to fill with water, the other for the turkey. I use two pans to hold the turkey for extra reinforcement.
  • 100% cotton kitchen string to tie the legs together
  • Grill
  • Charcoal for a charcoal grill
  • Hickory wood chips for smoking
  • Matches
  • Charcoal chimney
  • BBQ gloves
  • Tongs
  • Instant read thermometer
  • Oven thermometer if your grill does not have a built-in temperature gauge.
  • Timer

Hickory Smoked Turkey recipe.

Hickory Smoked Turkey recipe.

Grilling and Smoking a Turkey

The biggest challenge for outdoor grilling during the fall/winter season in the northeastern part of the US is getting the coals lit and maintaining the temperature of the grill. When I mentioned this at dinner, one son responded, “If you want to get it “lit”, you need loud music and more booze.” As fun as that sounds, whenever you are cooking over an open flame, I recommend keeping the parting to a minimum, at least until the food is cooked and the fire is out.

On a windy day, it is important to watch the fire in the charcoal chimney and make sure the paper fire catches and lights the coals. Once lit, the charcoal will heat up in about 15 minutes.

The few times I grilled a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner was when the temperature was mild for a November day in New York. That means, above freezing and preferably around 40°F (4.°C) or above. However, if you have a grill that is well insulated, keeping your grill at 350°F (177°C) should not be so difficult.

It takes around 3-4 hours to cook a 12 – 15 lb. (5.4 – 7 kg) turkey in a grill. To keep the coals hot and burning, locate your grill outside in a protected area with easy to access to and from your kitchen. To maintain the grill’s temperature at 350°F (177°C),  add fresh charcoal to the hot fire, every hour. Keep track of the temperature with an oven thermometer placed on the grill rack, or a built-in temperature gauge on the grill.

Hickory Smoked Turkey recipe.

 

Hickory Smoked Turkey recipe.

If you are lucky enough to live in a milder climate you should not have any problems maintaining the temperature.

For the smoke, I used hickory wood chips, but any purchased wood chips will work. Each type of wood has its own unique flavor so pick one you like. If you can find apple wood chips, they will complement the apple cider brine nicely.

Food Safety

When cooking with poultry it is important to keep food safety in mind, especially when brining a turkey for 24 hours. It is crucial the brine and turkey stays between 35°- 40°F (1.6°- 4.4°C). If the temperature in your cooler goes above 40°F you run the risk of developing harmful bacteria like salmonella, which will make you very sick.

Brining a turkey for 24 hours in a refrigerator is the safest and easiest option. However, if there is no room in your refrigerator, a good quality cooler is the next best thing. Fill the space in the cooler around the plastic bag filled with brine and the turkey, with ice and close the lid tightly. Periodically check the cooler to see that the ice is not melting. Replenish the ice as needed. A good quality cooler will maintain the temperature for several hours, just make sure you fill it with fresh ice before you go to bed.

Hickory Smoked Turkey recipe.

Some words of advice

Brining and cooking a turkey is an involved process, even when you cook it conventionally in the oven. All the steps are not so difficult; however, it takes time and constant monitoring. If you can, buy a fresh turkey and save yourself 4-5 days of worrying about defrosting the turkey. I often use frozen turkeys, but it adds 4 more days to your timeframe just to defrost the darn thing in the refrigerator.

I quickly thaw a frozen turkey by submerging a sealed turkey in a leak-proof bag in my cooler filled with ice water. A 14-pound turkey will defrost in about 8 hours if the temperature of the ice water is between 38-40°F (3.3 – 4.4°C). It is important to check the temperature of the ice water every hour until the turkey is fully thawed.

Because you are brining the turkey, make sure the turkey you buy is not already injected with a saltwater solution. Some commercial brands, like Butterball and Kosher Turkeys, have a saltwater solution already injected in their turkeys. Carefully read the label to make sure.

If you are having difficulty maintaining the temperature of your grill at 350°F, preheat your oven and finish cooking the turkey in the oven. You will not get as much of the smoked flavor, but you will get a properly cooked turkey and that is what is important.

You can do this. Cooking a turkey is an occasion by itself and just think how ecstatic you will feel when you are done. Although, this recipe might not be the easiest starting point if you never cooked a turkey before, or you are a novice griller. It is good to have some experience before one starts to experiment. Fortunately, the apple cider brine adds lovely fruit flavor and moisture to turkey no matter how it is cooked. So, feel free to use it for a conventional roast turkey.

Giving Thanks

Over the weekend when I shared this meal with my family, an overwhelming sense of gratitude and love filled my heart and home. It was the generosity of spirit and the positive attitudes from each of my children and their significant others, that moved me more than anything. As delicious as the food was, it was only the exclamation mark to a wonderful time, not the meaning or purpose. It was an I don’t want this evening to end, kind of night. Don’t wait for Thanksgiving to show gratitude and love and make something delicious and unexpected to share. Seize the moments as they come. Light up your life with family, friends, and food in your own special way creating those moments you never want to end.

Hickory Smoked Turkey recipe.

 

Thanksgiving Sides

Pineapple stuffing

My Favorite Stuffing Recipe

Green Beans with Caramelized Onions

Triple C Cranberry Sauce

Ginger Plum and Pear Crisp

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Hickory Smoked Turkey recipe.

Hickory Smoked Turkey

This is one of the best recipes for making a turkey I know. Like any roast turkey recipe, it takes time and constant monitoring, but it is well worth the effort. The hickory smoke steeps into the apple cider brined turkey, creating a light smoke flavor that is sweet and woodsy with dark and crispy skin. 

To determine the size turkey you need, the general rule of thumb is 1 - 1½ pounds (500 - 750 g) of turkey per person. You want leftovers for sandwiches and turkey pot pie, so you cannot err on the side of buying too much turkey. Keep in mind the smaller the turkey the lower ratio of meat to bone. 

Plan ahead and give yourself lots of extra time to cook the turkey. 24 hours for brining the turkey. 1 hour to prep the vegetables, bring the turkey up to room temperature, soak the wood chips and light your coals. Cook the turkey for 15 to 20 minutes per pound depending on the temperature of your grill.  

This recipe and grilling technique is by Jamie Purviance on weber.com

Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword Smoked Turkey, Thanksgiving, Turkey
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Brining Time 1 day
Total Time 5 hours 15 minutes
Author Ginger

Ingredients

Brine

  • 2 qt. (1 liter) apple cider
  • 1 lb. (2 cups packed / 456 g) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup (250 ml) kosher salt
  • 3 qt. (1.5 liters) water
  • 3 oranges quarter
  • 4 oz. (125 g) fresh ginger peeled and sliced thin
  • 15 whole cloves
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 6 large garlic cloves peeled and smashed

Turkey

  • 1 recipe Apple cider brine
  • 1 12 -15 lb. (5.4 - 6.8 kg) turkey (thawed if frozen)
  • 1 orange cut in wedges
  • 1 lemon cut in wedges
  • Enough extra virgin olive oil to coat the turkey
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1-2 TB Herbs de Provence
  • 1 sprig fresh sage
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 ½ cups (600 ml) chicken stock

Instructions

Make the Brine

  1. Pour the apple cider in a saucepan and place on a burner set at high heat. Add the sugar and kosher salt and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally to make sure the sugar and salt dissolve. Cook at a boil for 1 minute then remove the pan from the heat to cool. If using the same day, cool the brine to room temperature before adding to the turkey. You can make the brine 24 hours in advance and keep in the refrigerator overnight in an airtight container.

Brine the Turkey

  1. You need a five-gallon food grade bucket, or another large food-safe container large enough to hold your turkey and brine, or 2 large plastic bags (I use two to prevent the brine from leaking.)* Add the remaining brine ingredients to your container, stir to combine then submerge the turkey in the liquid. 

    If you are using plastic bags, place the bags in the cooler or container first, then add the turkey. Mix the apple cider brine and remaining ingredients in another bowl then add to the turkey. Bring the bag ends together in a way that shapes the brine around the entire turkey.  Tie a knot near the top of the turkey to seal the bags and prevent the brine from leaking. 

  2. Place the turkey with the brine in the refrigerator or cooler for 24 hours. If you are using a cooler, add ice to either side of the turkey and check the temperature periodically to ensure the cooler is maintaining a constant 36°- 40°F (2.2 - 4.4°C) temperature. You do not what the temperature to go above 40° F. Add ice to the cooler as needed. Make sure to add fresh ice to the cooler just before you go to sleep for the night. 

Prepare the turkey

  1. Remove the turkey from the brine after 24 hours. Discard the brine and place the turkey on a rimmed baking sheet. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels and allow it rest on the counter for one hour to bring it up to room temperature.

  2. Meanwhile, add 4 large handfuls of hickory wood chips in a pan and spread out in an even layer. Add water to cover the chips and soak them for a minimum of 30 minutes. Set aside.

  3. Just before you want to start grilling, dry off the turkey again with paper towels. Stuff the cavity with orange wedges, lemon wedges, and fresh herbs. If the legs are floppy, tie the drumsticks together at the tips with kitchen string. Baste the entire surface of the turkey with the olive oil then season with Kosher salt, black pepper, and Herbs de Provence.

  4. Add the chopped celery, carrots and onion to a large heavy-duty aluminum roasting pan in an even layer. 

  5. Add the chicken stock to the vegetables then place the turkey, breast side down in the pan.

Prepare your Grill

  1. Light your coals 20 minutes before you want to begin grilling. When the coals are ready, place a large aluminum foil baking pan in the center of the lower grate and arrange the hot coals around the pan in a horseshoe shape. Fill the pan with a tea kettle amount of warm water. Add some more coals to the hotbed of coals and allow them to heat up for a few minutes.

  2. Add two handfuls of the soaked wood chips evenly over the hot coals. Place your grill grate in the grill. Cover your grill with the vents open all the way and wait for the smoke to appear. 

Cook the Turkey

  1. Once you see smoke, position the roasting pan with the turkey on the grill grate with the legs pointing to the hottest part of the grill, the arch of the horseshoe. Cover the grill with the vents open. Cook for one hour.

  2. After an hour, carefully turn the turkey over and position it the breast side up. Add more charcoals if needed and more wood chips. Cover the grill and continue roasting. After an hour and a half check the turkey and cover the wing tips and drumstick tips with foil if they are getting too dark. Add more coals and wood chips as needed. Maintain the grill temperature at 350 °F (177°C) for the duration of time while cooking the turkey. 

  3. Cook the turkey until the internal temperature reads 165°F (74°C) at the thickest part of the thigh away from the bone. Check the breast meat for the same temperature reading. Usually, unstuffed turkey takes 15-20 minutes per pound to cook. While the turkey is smoking, check the coals periodically to make sure it maintains a constant 350°F temperature. 

  4. Once the turkey is done, remove it from the grill and roasting pan and place on a cutting board. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and rest for 15 – 20 minutes before carving.

Pan Juices

  1. Use the pan juices for gravy. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and discard or serve them with the turkey if they are not spent. I was able to save the carrots and onions, but the celery was overdone.  Pour the pan juices in a fat separator or skim off the top layer of fat from the pan juices with a spoon. Pour the pan juices in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

  2. Turn down the heat and simmer until ready to serve. The pan juices have a lot of flavor from the apple cider brine and smoke, so it should not need any seasoning. Taste first before you add any salt or pepper. This makes a light sauce, not a gravy, which is how I like it.

  3. If you want a thicker gravy-like sauce, make a roux then add the warm pan juices. Melt 1 -2 TB of unsalted butter in a saucepan then add the same amount of all-purpose flour to the pot. Whisk the flour and butter together and turn down the temperature to medium. Cook the roux, until it has a light golden color and the flour taste is gone. Add the hot pan juices to the roux and whisk until smooth. Taste and correct the seasoning. Simmer for 5 minutes stirring occasionally until ready to serve.

Hickory Smoked Turkey recipe. The ultimate turkey recipe. How to brine, grill and smoke a turkey using a charcoal grill. Apple cider brine recipe included.

© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Turkey Breast Roulades with Fontina and Fennel Pollen

Turkey Breast Roulade with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

Roasting a 15-pound turkey is intimidating and not without its challenges. It is difficult to get the white and dark meat well-seasoned, properly cooked and done at the same time. The size of a turkey is enough to stop people from cooking one. Not everyone needs or wants the whole bird and fortunately turkey parts are more available. When I entertain a small group for a holiday meal, I like to make turkey breast roulades. It has the wow factor like a roast turkey, but is more impressive seeing the cheese and herbs rolled inside the turkey breast. The bonus is, it takes 45 minutes to cook.

This recipe is from 2014 Oct/Nov issue of Fine Cooking Magazine. It is a great recipe by Jenn Louis and perfect alternative to roast turkey. What first attracted me to the recipe was a couple of things. I was hosting a small gathering for Christmas dinner and did not want to roast a whole turkey.

Turkey Breast Roulades with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

Turkey Breast Roulade with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

Turkey Beast Roulade with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

 

Second, there is a special ingredient in this recipe and it is not the bacon. Fennel Pollen. If you have never had it you are in for a treat. In this recipe, fennel pollen is mixed with bread crumbs, garlic and fresh sage. This mixture gets rolled into the turkey breast with fontina cheese and gives the turkey an exotic flavor. A lively je ne sais quoi flavor. If you tasted this recipe without the fennel pollen it would still taste great, but adding the fennel pollen brings the turkey roulade to another level of surprise and sophistication.

I first discovered fennel pollen a few years ago and believe it is a magical ingredient. I could cook with fennel pollen every day and never get tired of it. The flavor is more pronounced than fennel seed, but in a complex way. It is amazing with goat cheese, which is how I first discovered fennel pollen. A little goes a long way because the flavor is not shy. I love bold flavors and if used properly and with nuance, transforms a meal from delicious to unexpected in an extraordinary way.

Fennel pollen is expensive and hard to come by, but I believe it is worth it. I purchased fennel pollen at Savory Spice Shop in St. Petersburg FL, when I was visiting St. Pete. You can source fennel pollen at your local spice shop or farmers market. Or, you can also buy it online at Amazon or at Pollen Ranch.

Turkey Breast Roulades with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

Turkey Breast Roulade

Making turkey breast roulade is a production, but once assembled it is easy to cook and one you will feel very proud of. This impressive entrée is worth the extra effort. I found the most difficult part is pounding out the turkey breast to an even half-inch thickness. It is not that it is hard to do, it just takes some elbow grease and extra time. The good news is you can release any pre-entertaining angst with each whack of your meat mallet. It took me about 20 minutes to finish shaping the turkey breast. Essentially, you are taking an uneven shaped lobe and pounding it into a half-inch thick, 9 x 10 inch semi-rectangular shape. If you do not have a meat mallet, use a heavy-duty skillet. I tried it with both and found I had more control with a mallet.

Rolling up each turkey breast then wrapping them in bacon is something that requires some coordination, but gets easier each time you make it. The first time you make this, don’t let any insecurity of the unknown seep in and question your performance. Read the directions carefully and trust your instincts. After you see your first turkey roulade you gain twice as much confidence to tackle the second one. The plastic wrap is an excellent helper and assists in rolling up each turkey breast and wrapping the bacon over each turkey roulade. I included a video made by Fine Cooking that shows how to make a roulade for your convenience. Hopefully, all your questions get answered between my instructions and watching the video.

Turkey Breast Roulade, with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

Helpful Hints for Making Turkey Breast Roulade

Time is the extra ingredient. Make sure you give yourself lots of time, especially the first time you make the roulade. It is important not to be rushed or cut corners due to time constraints. Whenever I feel rushed or cut corners, I make mistakes and do not get as good results. You can make turkey breast roulades the day before you want to serve it, which is a huge stress reliever and time saver when entertaining. Plan ahead and give yourself enough time to brine the turkey breasts for 12 – 24 hours, and assemble the roulades ahead of time. There are 8 steps – brining, pounding, stuffing, rolling, wrapping, cooking, making the au jus, and slicing the roulades. No one step is difficult, they just take time.

I always find it is helpful to read the recipe from start to finish a couple of times before I start cooking. Being familiar with the process helps anticipate each step.

If you cannot find boneless skinless turkey breasts, ask your butcher to cut one for you. Most stores carry whole turkey breast on the bone. A good butcher will use it and prepare it any way you want.

Turkey Breast Roulades with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

How to work with raw turkey breast

Making the turkey breast roulades requires you handle the turkey meat and get your hands dirty. As long as you have your Mise en place, cross contamination of unwanted bacteria won’t be an issue.

  • Remove all jewelry from your hands and wrists. Even if you wear latex gloves, take off your rings.  If you have a plain ring, like a wedding band, you can leave it on.
  • If you have medium to long hair, tie it up to keep it out of your face.
  • Push your sleeves up and wear an apron to protect your clothes.
  • Do all your prep before you start handling the turkey breast and station them at your work area. Place all the utensils, plastic wrap cut to size, roasting pan within reach, and a couple of kitchen towels nearby. Mise en place.
  • Wash your hands a lot. I wash them before I start, between steps, and when I’m finished. Every time I step away from raw poultry, I wash my hands.
  • Throw out unused ingredients, like the extra grated cheese.
  • Wash and rinse the counter and area where you worked.

Turkey Breast Roulade with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

I know you can do it. Turkey Breast Roulade with Fontina and Sage is an impressive and delicious meal. One that you will feel proud to make as well as enjoy eating.

 

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Turkey Breast Roulade with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

Turkey Breast Roulades with Fontina and Fennel Pollen

Turkey breasts are stuffed with breadcrumbs, sage, garlic, fennel pollen and fontina cheese, then rolled up and wrapped in bacon for a spectacular turkey dinner. This is a delicious turkey dinner to make for a small crowd. It is perfect for entertaining because you can assemble the turkey roulades the day before you serve it. Special equipment: Meat mallet, or heavy-duty skillet Medium size flameproof roasting pan Instant read thermometer Tooth picks Fat separator Whisk The prep time dose not include the 12 hours of time required to brine the turkey breasts.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 8 -10 servings
Author Ginger

Ingredients

Turkey Brine

  • 2 TB granulated sugar
  • 2 TB Kosher Salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 medium garlic cloves halved and green germ removed
  • 2-1½ lbs 750 g boneless, skinless turkey breast halves, remove tenderloins from each breast

Turkey Roulades

  • 1/3 cup 75 ml fine unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 4 cloves of garlic green germ removed and minced
  • 2 TB finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tsp fennel pollen or ground fennel seed
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 6 oz 175 g fontina, grated (about 2 cups / 500 ml)
  • 2 brined turkey breasts
  • 1 lb bacon about 18 - 20 slices total
  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil

Au Jus

  • 2 oz / 4 TB 50 g cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 TB pieces
  • 2 medium shallots thinly sliced
  • 6 fresh sage leaves finely chopped
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 cups 500 ml homemade or low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice plus more to taste
  • Kosher salt

Instructions

Brine the Turkey Breast

  1. Combine all the brine ingredients, except the turkey breast, in a medium saucepan. Bring the brine to a boil and simmer until the sugar and salt dissolves. Turn off the heat and pour the brining liquid into a large, non-reactive bowl. Let the brine cool to room temperature. Once cooled add the turkey breasts and up to 4 cups (1 liter) of water so the turkey breasts are completely covered in the brining liquid. (I needed less than 2 cups of water). Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.

Make the Roulades the following day.

  1. In a small bowl combine the breadcrumbs, sage, fennel pollen and minced garlic. Stir to combine.
  2. Remove the turkey breasts from the brine and pick off any spices. Pat each breast dry.
  3. Place a large piece of plastic wrap down on your work surface and place one breast, skin side down on top of the plastic wrap. Cover the turkey with another piece of plastic wrap. Do the same for the remaining turkey breast.
  4. Use a meat mallet or the underside of a heavy-duty skillet, and pound each turkey breast to an even ½ inch (1 cm) thick, and approximately 9 x 10 inch (23 x 24 cm) rectangle. It won't be exactly like a rectangle, but it will be close. Use a downward and forward motion when pounding on the turkey breast, stopping every now and then to straighten out the plastic wrap on top of the breast. When you think you are close to done, stop and feel each flattened turkey with your hands for any uneven areas. Pound out these parts until each piece is flat with an even half inch width.
  5. Remove the top piece of plastic wrap from each breast and evenly sprinkle Kosher salt over surface, about 1/4 tsp each breast. Add a few rounds of freshly ground black pepper over each breast.
  6. Sprinkle the breadcrumb and herb mixture over each turkey breast, leaving a ½ inch (1 cm) boarder around the perimeter of each turkey breast. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the breadcrumbs and herbs. Make sure you have a nice even layer spread over the turkey's surface.
  7. Fold inward a half-inch boarder along the long sides of each rectangular turkey piece. This will enclose the bread crumbs and cheese so they don't spill out when you are rolling it up and while cooking.
  8. Start at the short end and roll up each turkey breast, keeping the folded edges inside the roulade. Use the plastic wrap to guide the turkey into place. Set aside.
  9. Preheat the oven to 425°F / 220°C / Gas Mark 7 and place the rack in the middle position.
  10. Lay a piece of plastic wrap lengthwise on a work surface. Arrange the bacon slices lengthwise across the middle of the plastic wrap. Overlap each piece of bacon, about 1/3 of the way over each piece lengthwise. Make sure there are no gaps. The bacon should line up across the middle of the plastic wrap to equal the length of each roulade. About 8-10 slices of bacon per turkey roulade.
  11. Lay a turkey roulade across the middle of the bacon slices, so that the bacon strips run perpendicular to the turkey roulade. Lift the top side of plastic wrap with the bacon, up and over one side of the turkey. Peel away the plastic wrap while holding the bacon in place. The bacon slices should lay over half the width of the turkey roulade meeting close to the seam. Repeat with the other side. If the bacon ends do not meet, stretch them until they completely cover the turkey around its girth. Secure the bacon to the turkey with toothpicks. Set aside and repeat with the other turkey roulade.
  12. Place a medium flameproof roasting pan on a burner set at medium-high heat. Add the extra virgin olive oil and heat until shimmering.
  13. Add the roulades top side down into the roasting pan and sear the bacon for 4 minutes. The bacon will begin to brown. Turn each roulade over on its' side and sear for one minute. Repeat for the remaining sides, ending with the top side up.
  14. Place the roasting pan in the oven and bake until an instant read thermometer registers 165°F / 74°C at the thickest part of each roulade, about 35 minutes.
  15. Place each roulade on a cutting board and let the turkey rest for 10 minutes and up to an hour.

Make the Au Jus

  1. Pour the drippings from the pan into a fat separator and let the pan juices settle. Place the roasting pan on a burner set to medium heat. Add 1 TB of the fat from the pan juices and 1 TB of butter to the roasting pan. After the butter melts, add the shallots and sage to the pan and cook until the shallots are soft, about 3 minutes. Stir to prevent the shallots from browning. Add the chicken stock and deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom. If there are any drippings at the bottom of your fat separator, not the fat, add them to the stock. Whisk to combine, and taste then correct for seasoning. Bring the au jus to a gentle simmer. Turn the heat down to low and add the remaining butter one tablespoon at a time, whisk between each addition until the butter is incorporated. Turn off heat and add the lemon juice. Season to taste.

Serve

  1. Carefully remove all the toothpicks and slice. Serve with the jus.

Make Ahead

  1. The turkey roulades can be assembled and wrapped in bacon up to 12 hours before cooking. Cover each roulade in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator before cooking. Remove the roulades 30 minutes prior to baking to bring up to room temperature.
Nutrition Facts
Turkey Breast Roulades with Fontina and Fennel Pollen
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 0
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Turkey Breast Roulade with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail

Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail reicpe

After you make Triple C Cranberry Sauce, you will have extra cranberry juice that needs a purpose. You could drink it plain for breakfast. Crantini’s are nice cocktails. Or, infuse the juice with herbs and spices for a festive signature cocktail. The latter is my choice, especially since I love martinis made with fruit  juice muddled with fresh herbs and spices. Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail takes its inspiration from the classic Cosmo Cocktail and is perfect for entertaining.

Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail Recipe

There are many fun cocktails for the holidays, but my inspiration came for the need to use up some leftover juice, and a request from Joe, “If you’re going to make a cocktail, make a vodka cocktail.” How could I refuse? Vodka has a clean alcohol flavor which mixes well with many fruit juices. I am not a fan of flavored vodkas, they just taste artificial to me. It is also less expensive to flavor the vodka myself then buy 3 different types of flavored vodka. All you need to get the flavors of herbs and spices in your drink, is to add a small herb sprig or fruit, and muddle it to release its oils. Then add the remaining ingredients and shake away.

The scents and flavors of my cranberry sauce got me thinking about new ideas for a vodka cocktail. Many herbs pair nicely with cranberry and I started dreaming about adding rosemary, ginger and orange bitters to cranberry juice. I tried steeping rosemary, ginger, lemon peel and allspice into the cranberry juice. Unfortunately, after 36 hours the juice tasted no different. I am going to work on this some more, but until then a cocktail shaker and a muddle gets the job done.

Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail recipe

When we drink cocktails, vodka is our preferred libation. Though I am not remiss for trying other beverages like tequila for a Classic Margarita, and stout in a Guinness Stout Float. Even cooking with spirits is fun like, Chocolate Stout Cake

I am particular about my drinks, because I prefer them on the dry side. Many cocktails are too sweet for my tastes. Yet, I recognize some drinks need a touch of sugar for the flavors to balance out. There is a fine line of how much simple syrup to add before it gets too much, but it does make a difference. Spiced cranberry vodka cocktail needs just a pinch of sugar to offset the harsh vodka and tart cranberry juice. It is amazing how even a small amount can change a drink from good to wow.

Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail recipe.

Granulated sugar does not dissolve in cold beverages, but simple syrup does. Imagine that layer of sugar at the bottom of a glass of iced tea and you’ll get the picture. No one wants that slurry in a cocktail. That is why simple syrup is used. Depending on how sweet your juice is, you may or may not need the simple syrup. The first time you make it, taste as you go to figure out how much simple syrup you need to reach your desired balance of flavor. Simple syrup is a good option to have at your disposal, whether you want a cocktail or a non-alcoholic beverage.

Spiced cranberry vodka cocktail is a remake of two classic drinks, Crantini and a Cosmo. The fresh herbs and spice from the ginger make this cocktail a festive and refreshing beverage. It would also taste great in a non-alcoholic beverage using the herb infused cranberry juice with seltzer or ginger ale.

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Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail recipe.

Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail

When cocktails are made to order, everyone gets exactly what they want. Although this recipe takes its inspiration from the classic Cosmo cocktail, it has more herb and spice flavor without being sweet. I like my cocktails on the dry side and usually with some fresh herbs. In this cocktail, a touch of rosemary and ginger add a layer of welcomed flavor with the cranberries. You don't want to add too much rosemary, or it will taste medicinal. A few drops of orange bitters and simple syrup round out the drink nicely.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 cocktail
Author Ginger

Ingredients

Spiced Simple Syrup

  • 1/2 cup 125 ml water
  • 1/2 cup 125 ml sugar
  • 1 1/2- inch 4 cm slice fresh ginger, sliced thin
  • 1/6 tsp pinch ground allspice, or 3 allspice berries

Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail

  • 1 inch 2.5 cm piece of a rosemary sprig
  • 1 thin slice of fresh ginger
  • 2 oz 60 ml vodka
  • 2 oz 60 ml cranberry juice
  • 2-3 dashes of orange bitters
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Less than 1/2 tsp of spiced simple syrup

Instructions

Spiced Simple Syrup

  1. Add all the ingredients for the simple syrup into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. When the sugar is dissolved, turn down the heat to medium low and simmer for two minutes. Stir the whole time you are cooking the simple syrup, and gently pound the ginger with a wooden spoon to release its flavor.
  2. Turn off the heat and cool for twenty minutes.
  3. Pour the simple syrup through a fine mesh strainer resting over a glass container. Store in a glass container with a lid in the refrigerator. Simple syrup will keep for two weeks, stored in the refrigerator.

Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail

  1. Add the rosemary, sliced ginger, into a cocktail shaker and muddle the herbs to release their flavors.
  2. Fill the shaker with ice, then pour the vodka, cranberry juice, lemon juice, simple syrup if needed, and 2-3 dashes of orange bitters. Cover and give it a good shake.
  3. Pour into martini glasses and serve.
Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail Recipe

© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

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