In November 1963, nearly six years before man went to the moon and just eight days before President Kennedy made his fateful drive through downtown Dallas, The Dallas Morning News published a spread of Thanksgiving cranberry recipes in which Julie Benell, the paper’s food editor at the time, dubbed the cranberry the “American aristocrat.”
There were recipes for cranberry ice cream, cranberry milk ice, cranberry Bavarian cream, cranberry whipped topping, cranberry chiffon pie and hot buttered cranberry punch. Hot buttered cranberry punch? Intriguing. I decided to give this recipe a try and see if it’s one that should be resurrected on holiday tables or politely left behind in 1963.
Unlike other cranberry punch recipes that call for cranberry juice or cranberry juice cocktail, this recipe uses two full cans of jellied cranberry sauce (whoa) that are blended with water, a spiced brown sugar simple syrup, and pineapple juice. I don’t know how many grams of sugar that is, but I know it’s somewhere between a lot and too much.
The punch is served hot and finished off with a pat of butter. Yes, that’s right, butter. Think buttered rum but without the alcohol and with the butter melted on top instead of blended in. You could easily add alcohol to this recipe, though.
Just a half mug of this punch made my teeth feel like they might fall out from the sweetness, but I’d probably make this again, if only to perfume my kitchen with the spiced brown sugar syrup. If I were to make it again, I’d maybe swap out one of the cans of jellied cranberry for cranberry juice and add a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice to brighten things up.
Here is the recipe as it was published with a few parenthetical notes of my own:
Hot Buttered Cranberry Punch
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 4 cups water (divided use)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon and ground allspice
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 cans of jellied cranberry sauce
- Pineapple juice (the recipe omitted the quantity, an editing error I assume, so I used my discretion here and found that 3-4 cups seems right depending on how thick you want the punch)
- Butter, cinnamon sticks for serving (I recommend using unsalted butter)
Bring to a boil the sugar, 1 cup water, salt and spices. With a fork crush the cranberry sauce. Add 3 cups of water to the cranberry sauce and beat with a rotary beater until smooth. Add the pineapple juice and hot syrup; simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve hot in mugs with dots of butter and cinnamon stick stirrers.
SOURCE: The Dallas Morning News, 1963
If you make this, I’d love to hear what you think.