Cranberry Jalapeno Jam! Yes Please!

Cranberry Jalapeno Jam!

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Cranberries appear to be everywhere this time of year! I love them frozen in smoothies, cranberry sauce, cranberry relish, in fact, I can’t think of cranberry anything I don’t like. I was making a batch of candied Jalapenos and spotted my bag of cranberries and a new thought began to surface!

First I googled to see if I could find a cranberry Jalapeno Jam but primarily I found ones made with juice, and I wanted the whole berry texture. I only had liquid pectin, so I adapted the Jalapeno Jam to include less Jalapenos and added cranberries. Since cranberries should be water bath canned for 15 minutes, I increased my waterbath time to 15 minutes instead of the 10 minutes that is commonly used for processing jelly.

Let me tell you. Divine. More then divine. My daughter took the spoon and I didn’t see her for ten minutes. She is eyeballing the jar trying to figure out how to disappear with it!

I wanted my cranberries chunky but not whole, so I poured the rinsed bag of cranberries into the blender and added one cup of white vinegar. I pulsed these until they were a chunky texture. You could use a food processor or chop these, just happened that the blender was right there! One bag equaled about 5 cups of cranberries.

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Chopped them all up so they could blend well with the vinegar. I could have chopped the peppers here too, but did not think about that until later. I was excited. I live on the wild side.

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Then I chopped four peppers. The jalapeno recipe on my pectin box calls for 12 jalapenos and 2 cups vinegar, so I am quite sure that the one cup of vinegar will cover my four peppers.

I removed the seeds because I wanted this to have a bite, not be completely burning hot! You could leave them in for more heat thought. IMG_20131117_091252_603

 I combined the cranberries, vinegar and peppers together. Then simmered this for ten minutes (Time recommended to simmer cranberries in syrup by NCHFP).

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I then added 5 cups of sugar. The interesting thing is the Jalapeno recipe called for 6 cups, but apparently it didn’t make a difference with setting up. Maybe this is because the sugar in the cranberries? I also added 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp cloves. I really did not taste these in the final project though.  I brought this to a boil and boiled for one full minute.

I then added the liquid pectin and boiled hard for one more minute.

This did not create any foam. It went right into the jars easy as could be! I capped and water bath canned for 15 minutes.

Then, I licked the pan clean! Delicious!

Cranberry Jalapeno Jam

1 12 ounce bag cranberries (about 5 cups)

4 jalapenos, seeded and diced

1 cup vinegar

5 cups sugar

1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

1/2 tsp cloves (optional)

1 packet liquid pectin

Combine cranberries and vinegar. Pulse until these are well chopped but still have texture. Combine cranberry vinegar mixture with jalapenos. Place in large stock pot. Simmer for ten minutes. Add sugar, cinnamon and cloves, bring to a hard boil and boil one full minute. Add pectin, stir well and bring to boil. Boil hard one more minute. Place hot jam into hot jars. Remove air bubbles and wipe rims. Cap with lid and ring. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Then, you can thank me. It is that good. Promise!

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Simple Frugal Apple Caramel Cake

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Simple Apple Cake. You just can’t get better then this for a fast simple dessert that will make you smile!

This cake is one of my oldest cake recipes I have. This is super simple, frugal and can be made into a healthy cake. I honestly don’t know where the recipe comes from, I found it in a recipe box from a yard sale 20 years ago. It’s been a sturdy recipe!

The thing I love is the ingredients are simple, it makes a small cake and you can have it in the oven within ten minutes. I often bake it while we are having dinner, so its still warm when it comes out!

First, chop your apples. I usually cut the “cheeks” off, then dice up. I have done this when the apples were chopped fine and when chopped larger. It really is personal preference. I have also made this with pears. Any harder fruit would work I am sure.

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You need two cups of apples, this is often just 2-3 apples, depending on what size and variety they are.

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In a mixing bowl, cream your butter until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well. In separate bowl mix your flour, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon. Combine your creamed butter and flour mixture. Mix well but don’t beat this hard. Then hand stir in your apples. You could also add another half a cup of dried fruit. Cranberries are especially nice! So is lemon zest! You could add a 1/2 cup of nuts if you wish. This is a very forgiving recipe!

Pour this all into an 8 inch square baking dish (or a round one, or a rectangle or whatever you have!

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This will rise up and be quite moist. It bakes for approximately 35 minutes at 350 degrees. It should spring back when you press down in middle (notice the thumb print? Don’t ask a ten year old boy to test it. . . )

For the caramel sauce, its rather simple.

combine your brown sugar and cornstarch together in a small saucepan. When well combined, stir in your heavy cream, butter, and salt. Simmer on low, stirring until thick. Usually this is done within 5-6 minutes.

Cut your cake, then pour the caramel sauce right over the top. If you really want to indulge, have some ice cream too! Delicious!

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Recipe:

*** Note that this is a forgiving recipe. If you want to use whole wheat, then you can (we do) it will be denser but if you eat this way you already know the texture! You can use white sugar, brown sugar, sucanat, honey (though you may want to throw in another tablespoon or two of flour to even the texture out.

*** Note that you can add other fruits, dry fruits, nuts etc. to this. I have made all sorts of combinations with this over the years. It is very basic recipe so adapt to your own like!

 

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar/brown sugar/honey/sucanat/turbadino/whatever sweetener you like!

1 egg

1 cup flour (we use whole wheat, use what you wish)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

2 cups chopped peeled apples (whatever variety you have… or pears, firm peaches, bananas?)

*nuts, dry cranberries, coconut, raisins etc. if you choose

Sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp. cornstarch (please buy GMO free if at all possible!)

1/4 cup cream (half and half, heavy cream or even evaporated milk if it is what you have)

1/4 cup butter

1/4 tsp salt

 

For Cake:

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg. In separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add to your creamed mixture. Stir in apples and any other ingredients you may use. Pour into 8 inch baking dish. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

For Sauce:

Combine sugar and cornstarch. Mix well. Add other ingredients and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until thickened. Pour over cake and enjoy!