I have to confess. I have made this cranberry sauce almost every Thanksgiving for, at least, the last 5 years. I have made improvisations adding lemon, ginger, rosemary, or whatever I had on hand and wanted to experiment with. Typically, I would to call these “fail proof”, but anytime I’m told something is “fail proof,” I will always find a way to mess it up. It’s like when someone gives me directions and says, “You can’t miss it.” Inevitably, I will be calling and saying “I missed it, where am I?”
All this to say, I messed up this recipe. I was going rogue and not looking at my measurements because, like I said, I have made this every year! But instead of 1/2 cup of water and OJ, I added 2 cups of each. While my cranberries were settling into the sauce and starting to pop I noticed the amount of liquid to cranberries ratio was very off. When I actually went back to check out the recipe, I realized what I had done.
Now, in these moments, when I realize I have not been following the recipe correctly, I feel my most creative. When I don’t have enough ingredients to start over (or I just don’t want to), I am forced to figure out how to salvage the dish. This is when I have the most fun in the kitchen. And these moments are why I love to cook.
In Fridge to Fork fashion, I didn’t want to waste the excess liquid so I decided to strain out the extra 3 cups of liquid into another sauce pan. I added a little more sugar to the cranberries to make up for what I just poured out and VOILA, the cranberries survived. But what to do with the excess liquid??? (insert thinking man emoji)
…Make a Cranberry Simple Syrup!
I realize this is not revolutionary, but had I not messed up, I would have never thought to make Cranberry Simple Syrup! It’s a perfect seasonal addition to any cocktail. It pairs well with bourbon, as well as, vodka. And it will last in the fridge up to 4 weeks!
I tell my failure story to encourage everyone to try new recipes, or in my case, “fail proof” recipes. If you don’t succeed JUST KEEP COOKING! When you mess up, find creative ways to save the dish! It’s exciting and you’ll feel proud when you have truly created something all your own!
Now back to the recipe on hand. Once the cranberries begin to pop and thicken, you’re almost finished! I like to leave a few cranberries still intact for extra texture. Remove from heat and let cool. Serve warm or refrigerate for up to two weeks! This is an easy dish to make days ahead of Thanksgiving to cut down on work the day of.
Pro Tip: Have left overs? Mary Parker suggests using the cranberries as topping on your greek yogurt for a morning treat!