I love cranberry sauce. It might be my favorite part of Thanksgiving. That and the turkey. And the stuffing. And the pie. And pumpkin bread! Okay, it’s really hard to pick just one, but cranberry sauce is definitely up there.

My parents practically have to have a can of cranberry sauce just for me. When I was little, I only liked the jellied kind. When I got a little older, I grew to appreciate whole berry cranberry sauce. I became a bit of a cranberry sauce snob – only Ocean Spray brand, please! The store brand stuff is not up to snuff.

Then I ventured into the realm of making my own cranberry sauce. First I went the traditional route, the recipe on the bag of Ocean Spray cranberries. And that’s good, but I guess I’m not too crazy about the cranberry-orange combination in my sauce. No matter how much I love cranberry sauce, I just can’t get into my dad’s cranberry-orange relish, made with raw cranberries. It’s just too.. tart. And overwhelmingly orange-y. A cranberry-orange sauce is too close to a cranberry-orange relish for my tastes… I like it, but I won’t go crazy for it.

And then I came across this recipe. Cranberry sauce with maple syrup and brown sugar. I think my brain exploded a little bit. I knew this would be cranberry sauce nirvana.

And it is. Oh boy is it ever. I’m nuts about this sauce. It is deliciously tart with just the right amount of sweetness. The maple syrup, brown sugar and vanilla combine to give it a great richness and depth of flavor. You definitely can taste the maple-y goodness of the syrup through the bright tartness of the cranberries. I never would have thought to combine maple syrup and cranberries, and it turns out they’re divine together. And with a recipe so simple (it takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish! No chopping, zesting, or juicing anything!), there’s really no reason for me to ever go back to canned sauce.

My hunt for the perfect cranberry sauce is over. This is it.

Maple Brown Sugar Cranberry Sauce

From Baking Bites

12-oz fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Combine cranberries, maple syrup, brown sugar and water in a large saucepan and cook over high heat until cranberries start to pop. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cranberries finish popping and mixture comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract (if using).
Sauce can be served immediately or stored in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week.

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