3/4 c. maple syrup
12 oz. cranberries (fresh or frozen)
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c. Cointreau
Zest the 2 oranges with a microplane and set aside the zest. Juice both oranges and add enough water to make the liquid equal 1 cup. Boil orange juice and water together in a saucepan with maple syrup for 5 minutes. Add the cranberries and cook for about 6 minutes. Add orange zest, lemon juice, and Cointreau. Then cool it down, cover and chill in the fridge, and enjoy it cold!
This recipe is laden with family memories for me. My mom had very bad luck with this recipe for the first few years she made it.
The first time she made it I was in 1st grade. She was not paying too much attention while it cooked, and it boiled over and made a huge mess all over the stove.
The second time she made it, I was in 2nd grade. She was determined to pay more attention to avoid making a mess. While she was cooking it, a commercial came on TV for a toy I wanted and I called her over to see it. Just then, the cranberries boiled over. Again.
So, the third time she made it, she was even MORE determined to keep an eye on her cranberries. My little brother was about 4 years old and he had the flu. While she was cooking it, he threw up, she went to clean him up, and the cranberries boiled over a third time.
Ever since then, she's had no problems.
When I was a sophomore in college, my family began spending our Thanksgivings in Arizona with all of our extended family. We have a great big Jewish family. The older generation grew up in New York during the Depression, and everyone else was born and raised in Arizona (except for my brother and me).
The first year we went there, I stayed with my Bubbe. She claims she is not a "Jewish mother" but that's a lie. She is 75 years old and she goes out to happy hour for caramel appletinis and she emails me dirty jokes. No one else has a grandmother like her.
I woke up Thanksgiving morning to the smell of cooking. Bubbe was on the phone to my mom. I heard her end, and I knew what my mom was saying.
Bubbe: "I am making the BEST cranberries this year. Have you ever had cranberries made with real cranberries?"
(I was 20 years old at this point and my mom's been making them since I was 7, so you do the math.)
Bubbe: "Well my recipe has grated orange peel in it."
(So does Mom's.)
Bubbe: "Well does yours have Cointreau in it?"
...and so on.
At my cousin's house, the whole family was gathered in a line getting ready to start serving ourselves buffet style for the big meal. Bubbe passed out spoons and dramatically gave each of her children and grandchildren a taste of her cranberries as the rest of our cousins looked on. Then she asked each of us if they were the best cranberries we'd ever had. My mom said she liked her own better. During dinner, Bubbe tried to get my father, my brother, and me to say that her cranberries were better than Mom's. Bubbe's might have one or two extra ingredients, like cinnamon or raspberries, but the recipes are 99% identical. The war of the cranberries is ongoing to this day.