Saturday, December 24, 2016

Visions of Sugar-Cranberries Danced in Our Heads

Merry Christmas everyone! This post is for all of you out there who have been so busy thinking of innovative ways to position your Elf on the Shelf, that you totally forgot to make a Christmas dessert. Dessert sometimes gets pushed to the side in the quest for a perfect dinner menu and then before you know it, the crowning end to a sumptuous holiday feast ends up being a scoop of Haagen Daaz with some hastily cut leftover fruit.  Now is that right?  No.  Make sure to leave a lasting impact on your guests with a beautiful elegant dessert that will elicit small smiles of content every time they remember that amazing Christmas dinner. Here's a dessert that you can throw together in literally less than 15 minutes of active time.  Just make sure to make it early so that it has time to set.

Sugared Cranberries

2 cups Sugar
1 cup Water
2 cups Cranberries

Combine one cup of sugar with one cup of water.  Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until mixture is clear.  Simmer for a couple of minutes.  Set aside for 5 minutes.  Pour over the two cups of cranberries (in a heatproof bowl.)  Set aside for an hour.  (Meanwhile make the Panna Cotta below.)  After an hour, spread the cranberries onto a cooling sheet over a cookie sheet (to allow the excess syrup to drip out.)  Set aside for another hour or so, until dry.  Toss the cranberries in the residual one cup of sugar, bouncing them in your hands like dice, so that a thin coating of sugar remains on the cranberries.  Dry in a single layer on foil.

Eggnog Panna Cotta

1/2 cup Whole Milk
2 1/2 cups Eggnog
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tsp Gelatin (Powdered)
1/3 cup Sugar
1/4 tsp Nutmeg (freshly grated is best)

Heat gelatin and milk gently over medium heat, stirring until the gelatin is dissolved.  Add the remainder of the ingredients and continue to heat until the mixture starts to steam and the sugar is completely dissolved.  Pour into six individual ramekins, cover with saran wrap (so that the wrap touches the mixture directly,) and chill for at least 3 hours.  When ready to serve, you can either serve directly in the ramekins, or dip the ramekins in hot water, run a hot knife around the rim and invert onto a serving platter.  Top with some sugared cranberries and soak up the compliments!

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