Homemade Cranberry Sauce

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Homemade Cranberry Sauce
(originally inspired by Wolfgang Puck)

3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon orange zest
3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch salt
12 ounces fresh cranberries, picked through and washed
1/4 cup pure maple syrup or more to taste
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Make the cranberry sauce:
       In a medium size saucepan over medium heat, add all of the ingredients, except the vanilla. Cook, stirring continuously, until the berries pop and the mixture has thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and extra maple syrup to taste if you like. Chill. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Makes about 2 cups. YUM!

LESSONS Learned:
1. You can make this way in advance, up to 2 weeks ahead of the big day.
2. Don't just dump the bag of cranberries into the pot. Make sure you take the time to sort through the cranberries and remove any mushy ones.
3. Stay close to that pot, stirring often. I just stir the mixture from beginning to end. Not all the berries will pop on their own. So, I get to pop those--very satisfying.