|Sugared Cranberries ready for the oven!|
Life has most definitely gotten in the way of my blogging, baking and cooking this week. About a week ago the dishwasher stopped working. I opened it to find standing water in the bottom and nothing we did could get it out. Easy enough to fix with quick trip to the appliance store after "the dishwasher guy" said it was the control panel. A very nice man arrived within days with our shiny new Bosch to install, but when his eyes grew wide upon peeking under my sink we were a little concerned. His question of, "How long have you been having water issues under here?" raised our concern even higher! A bit of exploration showed the bottom of the garbage disposal leaking. Still, no worries! My husband popped into his car and Home Depot provided the perfect, not too expensive (but WAY better than or original), new garbage disposal that the installer kindly installed for us and we luckily cleaned the water before it caused any damage.
Thinking that we were set, we called to carpet people to see if they could get a carpet cleaning in before Thanksgiving. "Perfect timing!" the kind lady exclaimed as she informed us that she had just had a cancellation and that they were available the next day at 8 AM! OK... we got to work, 6 hours later we had the furniture in every room moved to the tile areas, the kid's rooms cleaner than they have been in months, and the entire house dusted and vacumed. With tired backs and aching heads I began dinner and we opened a nice bottle of red wine to ease our pains. As we clinked glasses in a quick toast, the fridge joined in as it belched out a loud cracking sound with some sort of piece continuing to slap away.
Knowing that the fridge is a 15 year old floor model we were fairly certain it was the compressor belt that had snapped. Back into action, the freezer contents were quickly transferred to the garage freezer and the fridge contents carefully packed on ice in a couple of coolers. I was extremely thankful that I had not done my big Thanksgiving shopping yet! The photos and magnets were removed from the sides and as we made plans to visit our new friends at the appliance store my husband pulled the fridge away from the wall and unplugged our family workhorse. Figuring that he couldn't make matters any worse he took the back piece off and noticed a small piece of plastic wrapping (kind of like what comes on the cord of something new) wrapped around the fan. Easily removing the piece and plugging our old friend back in, my husband looked at me in surprise and relief and said, "I think I fixed it!" And sure enough he did!!! As the fridge was completely empty, we took this opportunity to clean her from head to toe, and a mere 3 hours after the first clank, the contents were neatly replaced and we reached for our forgotten wine glasses.
Dishwasher installed, garbage disposal installed and water cleaned up, fridge cleaned, and carpets cleaned and now dried, this morning I looked around at everything that needed to be replaced to its proper home. Then I gave in to my baking need and put together some of our favorite Holiday Jewels! A simple orange flavored thumbprint cookie is filled with our favorite Grand Marnier Cranberry sauce for a lovely sweet/tart treat.
Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce has graced our Thanksgiving table for more years than I can remember. Usually a doubling of the recipe gives enough for Thanksgiving and leaves just the right amount left over for the next day, or for cookies! A simple combo of cranberries, orange peel and juice, sugar and a touch of luscious Grand Marnier gives an ideal side for your roast turkey.
Grand Marnier Cranberries
1 12 oz. package of fresh cranberries
3/4 cup sugar (I like things fairly tart... add more sugar for a sweeter sauce!)
2 Tbs freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tbs grated orange peel
3 Tbs Grand Marnier
Preheat oven to 325º.
Place cranberries in a glass baking dish and toss with sugar. If your taste runs fairly sweet, add an extra 1/4 cup of sugar. Stir in orange juice and peel. Cover tightly with foil and place on a baking sheet (experience has shown that on occasion the berries can boil over! Best to be safe and bake on a sheet). Place in the oven and bake for about an hour or until the berries are very soft and juicy. Remove from the oven and stir in the Grand Marnier. Cover and refrigerate. Can be made up to 3 days in advance.
Holiday Thumbprint Jewels
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks room temp butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 Tbs finely grated orange zest
1 Tbs freshly squeezed orange
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce (See above!)
Preheat the oven to 350º. Line 2 baking sheets with a silicone mat or spray with cooking spray.
Puree 1/3 cup of cranberry sauce in a blender and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk to blend.
In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in the egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Add the flour mixture in 2 additions and beat just until moist clumps form. Gather the dough together into a ball.
Pinch off the dough to form 1-inch balls. Place on the prepared baking sheets, spacing 1-inch apart. Use a floured finger or 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon to create depressions in the center of each ball. Fill each indentation with nearly 1/2 teaspoon of the cranberry sauce. Bake until golden brown, about 16 - 20 minutes.
Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.