Originally created 11/23/05

Cranberry punch adds cheery flavor and aroma of holidays



Cranberries are a part of the Thanksgiving table, and usually are served as a saucy garnish to the holiday turkey.

This week's recipe takes cranberries off the holiday buffet and into a delicious hot punch that can be enjoyed before or after the big meal.

I've never been a fan of canned jellied cranberry sauce, but my friend Jean Duncan gave me a new perspective on it several years ago with a recipe for her hot cranberry punch.

My version starts by simmering brown sugar, water and pumpkin pie spice together in a Dutch oven until the sugar is melted. Two cans of jellied cranberry sauce are whisked in, along with pineapple and cranberry juice. The combination gives off the aroma of the holidays.

Using pumpkin pie spice eliminates the need to measure ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. If you don't have the spice combination, use a half teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a quarter teaspoon each of ground nutmeg and cloves.

If you're curious, the original recipe is very similar to mine, but Jean uses seven cups of water in place of the juices and adds 12 ounces of frozen orange juice concentrate and two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.

The punch can be simmered on top of the stove or prepared in your slow cooker. Just whisk all the ingredients together and cook on high until the punch is hot, then reduce the setting to low and serve the punch directly from the slow cooker.

I've received rave reviews of this punch from children and adults alike, so hang on to the recipe for gatherings throughout the holiday season. Serve mugs of the hot punch from a thermos during an evening of Christmas caroling or add the punch to the menu of a holiday dessert buffet.

Write to Karin Calloway in care of The Augusta Chronicle Newsroom, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903-1928. Or send e-mail to karin.calloway@comcast.net. You can find previous Quick Cooking recipes through the online archive at augustachronicle.com/karin.

Hot Cranberry Punch

1 cup water cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

2 16-ounce cans jellied cranberry sauce

4 cups pineapple juice

4 cups cranberry juice cocktail

Cinnamon sticks, optional, for garnish

Combine water, brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Simmer, whisking, until the sugar is melted. Whisk in the jellied cranberry sauce until smooth and add the juices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. (All ingredients can be combined in a slow cooker, whisked well and simmered on low for 5 to 6 hours.)

Ladle into mugs or punch cups and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Makes 14 1-cup servings.

Nutritional information per serving: 254 calories, 29 milligrams sodium, 62 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams protein, 1 gram dietary fiber.

Nutritional analysis provided by registered dietitian Rachel B. Drew, nutritional education specialist for the Richmond County School Nutrition Program, in conjunction with the Augusta Area Dietetic Association.

Coming next week: Curried Chutney Cheese Ball is made for holiday entertaining and is a snap to prepare in the food processor.

See Karin prepare the recipe at noon Tuesday on WJBF-TV (Channel 6).