Cranberries are one of the only three fruits indigenous to North America and one of the healthiest fruits to add to your diet. As a woman, I've known of their properties to prevent UTI's (urinary tract infections), but did you know that it ranks in the top for antioxidants too? Antioxidants are essential to optimizing health by helping to combat the free radicals that can damage cellular structures as well as DNA.
Native Americans enjoyed cooking with cranberries and probably sweetened them with honey. For sure, they were on the Thanksgiving table. By the 1800s, they were imported to England where they were also used as a poultice for wound healing and as a dye. Surprisingly, there is an article in the November FoodNetwork magazine on dyeing napkins with this versatile berry!
Little Cranberry Tea Cakes
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-8oz. pkg. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans* (optional)
2 cups fresh cranberries, sliced in half
Preheat oven to 350F-degrees. Spray a decorative mini bundt pan with a baking spray or line a muffin pan with papers.
Wash and dry on paper towels fresh cranberries. Slice each berry in half.
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese together thoroughly. Add the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, while the mixer is running on low, then, turn up to medium and beat until fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then, turn it on again and add the eggs one at a time, incorporating them completely. Again, scrape down the sides.
Whisk together the dry ingredients lightly in a separate bowl and add to the mixture. Mix on low just until combined. Stir in the nuts, if using and cranberries. (*Pecans are a big part of Southern cooking, which I'm embracing wholeheartedly!)
Scoop the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25-28 minutes (depending on what pan you're using). Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 to 7 minutes, then, turnout onto a rack to cool completely.
For Tea Cakes, I mixed up a simple glaze:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 T light Karo syrup
3-4 T hot water
...and drizzled over top of the cakes.
I couldn't let October pass without a special give-away in memory of Kelly; she was the epitome of giving. I have mentioned before that The Vera Bradley Breast Cancer Foundation has been a focus for me to see a cure for breast cancer--100% of the donation goes to research. I attended a preview night at the store in our area recently and I chose this Tote Bag in Bittersweet that will be given to a lucky recipient this month.
The fall weather is upon us and Little Cranberry Tea Cakes are wonderful treats--Enjoy!