Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and in the past few years, Friendsgiving has been moving up the list too! At Friendsgiving you get all of the perks of a Thanksgiving feast (more stuffing please!) without any crazy family drama, and usually a few more holiday cocktails. We attended a Friendsgiving brunch this weekend and it was a blast, I ate enough that I started to resemble a Thanksgiving turkey! In preparation for lots more holiday events, Friendsgiving included, Target Grocery sent me a big box of Thanksgiving essentials, and challenged me to step up my holiday table game using only products from Target. Inspired by a local and seasonal treat — cranberries — I set out to share a handful of ideas to bring cranberry flavors to your holiday table with all of my favorite Target products. From cocktails to appetizers to desserts, I’ve got a cranberry spin on just about every Thanksgiving angle!
The Target Test Kitchen shared this warm Cranberry Cheese Dip recipe with me, and it sparked the idea for the whole cranberry theme! It’s a rich, warm appetizer and I love the pop of color from the red cranberries in the dip. It’s super simple to make too: beat 8 oz of Market Pantry™ Cream Cheese and 8 oz of shredded Market Pantry™ Pepperjack Cheese together in a bowl, and lightly fold in 1 cup of fresh cranberries. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until the edges are bubbly and cranberries soften. Serve on a rustic wooden tray with Archer Farms Entertaining Crackers for dipping!
Cranberries make such a delicious addition to a cocktail, and I made a classic cranberry simple syrup that can mixed into several different types of cocktail and mocktails! To make the simple syrup, heat 2 cups of cranberries, 1/2 cup of sugar, and 1 cup of water on the stove top until reduced by at least one half. Strain the mixture removing the remains of the cranberries and let it cool in a glass jar. Then mix the simple syrup into any drink you desire! It goes great with a gin and tonic, soda water and lime for a nonalcoholic drink, or use it to top off a glass of prosecco with a sprig of rosemary for a signature cocktail! I served the last one in champagne coupes on a hammered copper tray from Target (with cute matching coasters) and it looks so festive and colorful.
Ready for the easiest appetizer that takes just 5 ingredients and a few minutes to make? Grab frozen puff pastry, a jar of cranberry sauce, Archer Farms Maple Syrup, brie cheese and some fresh thyme from Target, and you’ll be ready to whip up a simple cranberry brie appetizer in just a few minutes! Simply cut the puff pastry into 2×2 squares and fold into quarters. Place the puff pastry in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, until they puff up and turn golden brown. While they’re cooking, mix 1/2 cup of cranberry sauce with 1 tbsp of Archer Farms Maple Syrup. As soon as the puff pastry comes out of the oven, top with a slice of brie and the maple-cranberry sauce mixture while the pastry is still hot. Garnish with some fresh thyme sprigs and serve with festive cocktail napkins to catch those sweet gooey drips of the cheese and cranberries.
No holiday event is complete without a tasty dessert! I grabbed a few simple ingredients from Target and made this no-bake cranberry inspired sweet treat that will wow your guests: a cranberry cheesecake parfait. Chop up pieces of a frozen, pre-made cheesecake from the frozen food aisle at Target and divide it among 4-6 small jars or glasses. Layer each container with 1/4 cup of Archer Farms Apple Cider Granola on top of the cheesecake, then top with 1/4 cup of a cranberry reduction (use the same instructions above for the cranberry simple syrup, but don’t strain the whole cranberries out!). Chill in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve — I displayed my desserts on a slate tray with some festive gold flatware for a little extra holiday flair!
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Please note: This post was created in partnership with Target Grocery, all images, opinions and content are my own.