The days of fresh summer berries might be long gone, but there’s another berry in town now—the cranberry. This juicy red fruit doesn’t get the credit it deserves. With its sweet and often tart flavor, the cranberry can make a great complement to a salad or the traditional Turkey dinner, or stand on its own in a scrumptious tart. With the holidays in full swing, you can find this festive berry in a variety of seasonal desserts from cranberry layer bars to cranberry tea bread. So whether you’re a self-proclaimed cranberry lover or the person who politely moves them to the side of their plate, try some of our favorite cranberry-laden dishes from these local eateries.
CRANBERRY LAYER BAR
The Painted Turtle Chocolatier is known for its fantastical chocolate creations, but owner Pat Godfrey also crafts a plethora of cranberry-inspired treats that are a festive addition to any holiday soiree. “The cranberry layer bar is a tradition for the holidays,” Godfrey says. This homemade treat has a crunchy crust filled with cranberries, nuts, coconut and orange peel, topped with both white and dark chocolates ($2.50 each). In addition to the cranberry layer bar, Painted Turtle offers a wholesome cranberry cookie that’s perfect for the cooler weather and boasts big chunks of chocolate, too ($1 each); a cranberry tart topped with crunchy streusel ($3.50 each); and, of course, a cranberry truffle—white chocolate ganache with chopped cranberries, dipped in white chocolate and topped with dried cranberry ($2.50 each). 10100 6th Ave. N.; 763.550.9475.
ROAST TURKEY DINNER WITH CRANBERRIES
Peg’s Countryside Café has been serving the Plymouth area for 38 years and counting. With a recently revamped menu that incorporates tons of fresh local produce, this local eatery doesn’t skimp on home-cooked goodness. That’s why we love the Thursday weekly special—roast turkey dinner with cranberries. (Who said you had to wait until Thanksgiving?) This classic holiday feast won’t disappoint with its juicy roast turkey, served with dressing, cream-mashed potatoes and gravy, veggies, and, of course, the cranberries for the extra-festive feeling ($8.45). 842 Hwy. 55, Hamel; 763.476.6869.
Cranberries are a versatile fruit, making their way into all mealtimes. For breakfast, Einstein Bros Bagels serves up a delicious version of a cranberry bagel to get your morning started right. This favorite locale bakes its signature and gourmet bagels fresh each day. Pick up one on your way to the office ($1.25 each), or spread the love with Einstein Bros’ dozen bucket, which includes 13 classic or signature bagels, and two tubs of cream cheese shmear ($14.65). (Skip the cream cheese, and the baker’s dozen is $10.35). 187 Cheshire Lane; 763.475.1347.
HOT TURKEY SANDWICH WITH CRANBERRY RELISH
Since it opened its doors in 2007, the Good Day Café’s known for its fabulous breakfast dishes, but it also has a variety of lunch dishes that won’t leave you disappointed (or hungry, for that matter). For something hearty and reminiscent of Grandma’s home-cooked meals, we recommend the hot turkey sandwich with cranberry relish ($11.95). This classic is built on toasted brioche bread, topped with rotisserie turkey, and served with mashed potatoes, homemade gravy and Good Day Café’s own cranberry relish. Make a good day even better, as the cafe proudly uses meats, veggies and cheese produced locally in Minnesota. 5410 Wayzata Blvd., Golden Valley; 763.544.0205.
CRANBERRY TEA BREAD
A family-run operation, much of the Wuollet Bakery staff has been baking up its long list of family recipes in the 69-year-old baker since childhood. One treat you won’t want to miss is the cranberry tea bread ($7.25). “It’s typically a Christmas item, but we make it for special orders as well,” says co-owner Mike Jurmu. This bread starts with pound cake batter studded with bright, flavorful cranberries. The bread looks beautiful when sliced and is the perfect complement to a cup of hot coffee with its rich and tangy flavors. While you’re at it, don’t miss out on Wuollet’s cranberry tart—a butter shortcake crust topped with cranberries folded into a merengue-like topping ($23). 771 Lake St. E, Wayzata; 952.473.8621.
CHICKEN CRANBERRY SALAD
We want to thank whoever it was that had the bright idea to add dried cranberries to salads. Little bursts of sweet tart embolden an otherwise bland pile of fresh greens. We love the chicken cranberry salad at Doolittles Woodfire Grill for a light lunch or complement to dinner. This salad is composed of fresh, leafy romaine topped with toasted almonds, dried cranberries and bleu cheese for a little something extra ($11.50). Tossed in a light poppy-seed dressing, this salad is both flavorful and refreshing. The roasted red beet salad also offers a healthy dose of dried cranberries, paired with rotisserie chicken, green apples, spiced walnuts and bleu cheese atop arugula greens tossed in shallot vinaigrette ($11.95). 550 Winnetka Ave. N, Golden Valley; 763.542.1931.