Last summer – which seems a long time ago right now – we were introduced to Cranes Cranberry & Blood Orange Liqueur when we were invited to the final of the Cranes Liqueur cocktail competition. It was a fun evening and the cocktails were fantastic. I loved Cranes Liqueur straight away, cranberries and blood oranges are two of my favourite fruit flavours and I have used them quite a bit to create my own cocktails.
Then I began thinking about using Cranes Liqueur in my Christmas cooking and baking, with cranberries and oranges being seasonal and two of the flavours associated with Christmas. I experimented a bit and I can now present you with the recipes for two of my favourite Christmas biscuits and a very lovely mulled wine.
Cranberry Mulled Wine
This mulled wine is lighter and fruitier than traditional mulled wine as I have substituted the red wine with a mixture of white wine and cranberry juice.
- 1 bottle of white wine
- ½ litre of cranberry juice
- 2 shots of Cranes Cranberry & Blood Orange Liqueur
- 1/2 orange
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- whole cloves
- 4 star anise
- brown sugar to taste
Wash the orange thoroughly and stick the whole cloves in it. Heat the wine and the cranberry juice with the orange, the cinnamon stick and the star anise, but don’t bring it to the boil. Add the Cranes Liqueur and brown sugar to taste. Serve hot.
I have taken one of my favourite biscuit recipes and tweaked it a bit by adding orange zest and booze soaked cranberries.
- 250g unsalted butter
- 100g icing sugar
- 1 packet or 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
- 250g flour
- 2 packets vanilla pudding powder (Dr. Oetker) or 2 tablespoons of corn flour and an extra packet of vanilla sugar
- the zest of an orange
- 50g dried cranberries
- a shot of Cranes Cranberry & Blood Orange Liqueur
Soak the cranberries in the Cranes Liqueur. Mix the butter, icing sugar, vanilla sugar, flour, vanilla sugar and orange zest and knead the mixture until you have a soft dough. Wrap in clingfilm and leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 190C.
Break off a little bit of dough and roll it between the palms of your hands until it is round and slightly bigger than a hazelnut. Place it on a baking tray. Repeat until you have used all the dough – there should be about 50. Use the end of a wooden spoon to make a little dent in all of the biscuits and fill with the liqueur soaked cranberries. Bake for about 12 minutes.
This recipe is a mix between spekulatius and cinnamon stars, both popular German biscuits, the kind of biscuits that make the whole house smell of Christmas when you have them in the oven.
I have started to make my own Christmas spice mixture which I can use in cooking (it’s great in a chilli con carne) and baking, but you can also pick it up ready-made in some speciality shops. Mine is about half cinnamon with the other half an equal mix of cardamom, ground gloves, nutmeg and ginger with a touch of white pepper.
- 300g flour
- 160g unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 100g icing sugar
- 2 teaspoons Christmas spice mixture
- 2-3 tablespoons of icing sugar and a small amount of Cranes Cranberry & Blood Orange Liqueur for the glaze
- sugar stars or sprinkles optional
Mix the flour, butter, baking powder, icing sugar and the spices and knead them into a smooth dough. Wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for an hour. Pre-heat the oven to 160C.
Roll out the dough quite thinly (2 mm) with a rolling pin or glass bottle and use a cookie cutter to cut out stars. Place them on a baking tray and bake for about 10 minutes. Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes so they don’t break and then transfer them to a cooling rack and wait until they are completely cold before you can decorate them.
In the meantime sift about 2-3 tablespoons of icing sugar into a small bowl and add a little bit of Cranes Liqueur. Make sure the mixture is not too thin. You should be able to stand a spoon in it. Decorate the biscuits with a little dollop of glaze and a few sugar stars.
With thanks to Cranes for providing us with a complimentary bottle of Cranes Cranberry & Blood Orange Liqueur.