2 12 oz pkg cranberries, preferably fresh, but frozen will do in a pinch
2 TBSP orange zest, about two large oranges
3 cinnamon sticks
Juice from the zested oranges, plus enough additional to equal three cups
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup water
¼ tsp kosher salt
Optional variations: ½ cup chopped toasted pecans or walnuts, ½ cup toasted coconut, ¼ cup Southern Comfort (I’ve used each variation, but not all!), ¼ cup cornstarch, 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract, dark brown sugar in place of the light brown sugar
1. In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan over medium heat, combine first six ingredients, stirring well to combine. Add in one half cup of the water. Bring mixture to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Add salt.
2. At the end of the hour, taste sauce. If you wish it sweeter, then add another cup (or more!) of either white or brown sugar until it achieves the sweetness you prefer.
3. Allow mixture to simmer for about an hour, or until the sauce has thickened and the cranberries have burst.
4. At the end of the hour, taste sauce. If you wish it sweeter, then add another cup (or more!) of either white or brown sugar until it achieves the sweetness you prefer.
5. The sauce will have thickened a good bit. If you like you can continue cooking for another half hour or so until it has reached a consistency you prefer. Alternately, you can make a slurry with the remaining ½ cup of water and the ¼ cup of cornstarch. Add this slurry to the sauce, bring back to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes. This will thicken the sauce additionally, giving it a more jelly like texture, and giving it a very pretty gloss.
6. Alternately, if the sauce is thicker than you like, add just the remaining water, a TBSP at a time, until thinned to your preference.
7. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. At this point you may stir in any of the optional ingredients – the pecans or walnuts, coconut or vanilla.
8. Allow sauce to cool to nearly room temperature before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator. All done – that’s all there is to it!