Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Grand Marnier Cranberries and Holiday Thumbprint Jewels

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.


  1. Wow...I'd need TWO bottles of red after a week like you've had ;)! Love the cranberry sauce...making mine from scratch this year, and this looks like a winner. Need a fresh bottle of GM, though as mine just ran out!

  2. Wow, what a week! Well, at least you are back at it now, with a wonderful recipe. Love the twist on the sugared cranberries.

  3. Good choice of dishwashers, my cousin got them in her new house and you can't even hear them running, mine sounds like it's at the race track. Glad you got everything going again.

    The cranberry sauce sounds like just what I was looking for. Can you believe my husband came home from the store the other day with cans, I gave him the look, like you didn't just bring those into my house! He He

  4. they look perfect and tasty!!!! (^_^)

  5. What a week that you had! About a month ago, my husband had to have a root canal and a crown, the transmission went out on our SUV, and our fridge which was 1-1/2 yrs old had a "major meltdown", all within 2 weeks! Needless to say, I needed many glasses of wine:) we're lucky we can escape into the "baking world."

    Your cranberry sauce looks gorgeous, and I never thought to add Grand Marnier to the sauce, but I will this year. I'm going to try the cookies, too. they look so pretty.

  6. LOL Wendy!!! I'm feeling much better now (other than the lingering lower back aching!) but the wine definitely helped!

    Thanks Carolyn! I'm still not doing well reducing the sugars!!

    You are right Gina, this one is super quite, that's a plus! LOL on the "look"! I've given that one before too!

    Thanks Greek and Lizzy!

    Becky, yep, you get it! Yes, somehow baking calms the nerves. The sauce is my all time favorite! It was the first thing I ever put Grand Marnier into, and I've been hooked ever since!

  7. Beautiful! Love the flavor combination!

  8. You earned those cookies. Do you notice these things happen just before holidays? (Or in my case during the holiday.) I love the combintion and will endeavor to make both. Happy smiles will erupt formmy family and you make the cranberries looks so enticing in the photos.

  9. Love all the beautiful things you made with the fresh cranberries. The Grand Marnier is a special added touch. Looks like you're all set for Thanksgiving, with all the things fixed, and taken care of.

  10. Thumb print cookies are always so delicious. Making cranberry ones are so holiday festive :-)

  11. Your week was so extremely hectic! You made me tired just hearing about it! I wasn't nearly that productive...and I don't work outside the home at the moment! I'm glad everything is working *knock on wood* and you've really done well with these! Your cranberries win, these will grace our table at Thanksgiving. And the following Sunday we just might make these cookies too. MMM I bet they taste amazing!

  12. Sorry to hear about all your kitchen mishaps. Glad everything worked out, though. The recipe looks feb - I adore Gran Marnier and paired with cranberries in cookies - yummy!

  13. I say when one thing happens then others will follow for sure. I am sorry for all this inconvinience you had but these little treats I am sure compensated you for all the trouble.

  14. Wowww... that's a whole lot of domestic household appliance stuff drama going on in one single week!! I'm glad you got through them, and that you're back. LOVE the recipes you posted, and those cookies look amazing!!

  15. My Goodness what a week you have had Kim! Isn't it amazing how everything seems to happen at once? What is that saying? "Bad things happen in 3's". Your cranberry sauce looks amazing and those little jewels are just gorgeous. I would have a hard time just eating 1 ;-)

  16. Nice addition to the cranberries. Excellent idea to use the sauce for the cookies.

  17. When it rains, it pours, huh? Thankg god you got everything fixed in time for Turkey Day! These craberries look and sound amazing!

  18. Wow, I'm impressed, you don't let a little thing like every major appliance in your house blowing up keep you out of the kitchen and off your holiday baking/blogging routine! The thumbprints cookies look Devine:)

  19. Oh man. Busy, busy week for you guys! At least you kept your sense of humor and marched on. That's a plus. Glad it's all been able to get fixed before the big day.

    Those Grand Marnier cookies look delicious but I can say for a fact that a bottle of it doesn't last long here. I swear my husband drinks a wee bit too much at times. He brought home 2 bottles of Grand Marnier from a work event about 3 weeks ago and both are already gone. I may have to start hiding the liquor as it does concern me that he throws back more than he really should.

  20. This was indeed quite a week in your house! I bet these thumbprints cheere you up, though :) Love the grand marnier addition to the cramberry sauce. You know, I'm a bit fan of grand marnier in desserts!

  21. Mmm these look great! I think I'll add these to my list of cookies to make for Christmas :)

  22. Love the idea of cranberry versus jam for the thumbprints. Perfect for the holiday season or a cookie exchange! Bookmarking this one!

  23. WOW what a week! Luckily your husband was there to help AND you had wine!! Things like this happens to me when my husband is TDY. That's why I hate them so- hehe. So happy everything was sorted out! AND I am happy this didnt happen the week of Thanksfigiving! So more goof than bad!

    Those cranberries sounds delightful! Adding them to your cookies is genus! Must try this for christmas, too!

  24. What a week you've had. It seems to be going around. We're heatless and I can't feel my feet. Thank goodness this is the south. It's 45 degrees, but doesn't feel that bad. The cranberry sauce looks fantastic.

  25. HA!! What a week, good thing you can laugh about it! And YEAH your sweetie fixed the fridge! I LOVE cranberries the way yours were made, every year I make 2 versions and only my Dad and I will eat them (out of 22 people) THEY all want the canned (yuck) stuff!
    Beautiful photos as usual!

  26. I've always made my own cranberry sauce but I love the Grand Marnier in your recipe. I'll have to make it this way from now on!

    I also made these cookies tonight. Sooooo goooood!! :D

    Thanks for sharing!


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