Cooking Christmas Treats with Cranberry and Cinnamon

by Dominic Franks from @DomInTheKitchen

With the Christmas period almost upon us it’s hard not to notice the abundance of festive flavour combinations that are around at this time of year. Classic spices such as nutmeg, cloves and ginger are paired with apples, pears and dried fruits.  Perhaps one of my favourite combinations is Cranberry and Cinnamon.  The colour and flavour are so evocative of Christmas and you can use them in so many dishes so that every meal is a festive treat!

Here are three of my favourite cranberry and cinnamon recipes.

Cranberry and Cinnamon Chelsea Buns

I do love a rich fruit bread at Christmas.  There are so many to choose from such as the divine Italian Panettone, the German Stollen or the colourful Mexican Rosca de Reyes but I also really adore the classic Chelsea Bun.  I realise it’s not particularly a Christmas thing, but they look so festive with their fruit-laden swirls and don’t take much adaptation from the norm to make them seasonal.  I’ve simply used a jar of my favourite cranberry sauce, spread on top of a layer of cinnamon butter.  The dough is an enriched bread dough with sugar and eggs, so you will need patience with this recipe, but I promise you that the delicious rewards far outweigh the effort.

Kitchen Tools Needed: Cole & Mason Cambridge 20 Jar Herb & Spice Rack Carousel

Prep:  3 hours

Cooking Time: 30mins

Difficulty: Moderate

Serves: 6+



For the buns

  • 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 7g (1 teaspoon or 1 packet) fast-action dried yeast
  • 300ml whole milk
  • 75g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • the zest of 1 clementine
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 large free-range egg

for the filling

  • 100g unsalted butter, very soft or at room temperature
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 small jar cranberry sauce
  • the zest of 1 clementine
  • 100g dried cranberries

for the glaze

  • 50ml milk
  • 50g caster sugar


  1. Start with the dough - put the flour, caster sugar, salt and yeast into a large bowl and set aside. Put the milk, butter, clementine zest and cinnamon into a small saucepan and cook over a low-medium heat until all the butter has melted. Set aside until just lukewarm.
  1. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture, then pour in the milk mixture and add the egg. Mix with your hands to form a rough, soft dough. Tip out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10-15 minutes until smooth and elastic. (I did this in my stand mixer, using the dough hook on low speed for 10 minutes.) then put the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with cling film. Leave it to rise for about 1-1½ hours or until it has doubled in size.
  1. Meanwhile make the cinnamon butter filling by lightly beating the butter, cinnamon and brown sugar until you have a rough paste.
  1. Once the dough is risen, tip it out onto a lightly floured work surface and use a rolling pin to roll into a 40cm x 50cm rectangle. Using a spoon or spatula, spread the cinnamon butter in an even layer across the entire surface of the dough, then spread the jar of cranberry sauce over the cinnamon butter. Top with a sprinkling of dried cranberries and gently press with your hand to secure in place.
  1. Roll up the dough into a cylinder along the long edge, keeping the spiral tight. Using a sharp knife, cut into 12 even slices.
  1. Grease and line a baking tin roughly 20cm x 3cm and arrange the buns snugly in the base. Cover the tin with cling film, set aside and allow the buns to prove for 45-60 minutes until risen and puffy. 
  1. While the buns are proving, heat the oven to 180°C. Once proved, bake the buns for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. While the buns are baking, prepare the glaze: put the milk and caster sugar in a small pan, then bring to the boil over a low heat. Remove and allow to cool.
  1. Remove the buns from the oven and immediately brush with the cooled milk glaze, then sprinkle over some demerara sugar.

The dough is very soft so make sure you use plenty of flour on your work surface when rolling it out.

Preparation is the key here.  Make sure you have your greased and lined baking tin ready.

Substitute a jar of mincemeat with the jar of cranberry sauce for a brilliant alternative to mince pies!

Cranberry and Cinnamon Porridge

Is there a better way to start these cold winter mornings with the tastes of Christmas? This simple recipe is a festive twist on the classic breakfast staple.

Kitchen Tools Needed: Cole & Mason Cambridge 20 Jar Herb & Spice Rack Carousel

Prep:  10 mins

Cooking Time: 15 mins

Difficulty: easy

Serves: 2


  • 200g porridge oats
  • 450ml milk (this works with any kind of milk, including dairy-free)
  • 40g fresh cranberries
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon Greek Yoghurt
  • The zest and juice of 1 clementine


  1. Place the porridge oats, fresh cranberries, cinnamon, clementine juice and milk into a small saucepan and turn the heat on to medium
  1. Continuously stir the porridge until the milk becomes hot and the porridge thickens. The cranberries will burst into the porridge.
  1. To serve, pour into a bowl and stir in the Greek yoghurt and honey.
  1. Sprinkle the top with dried cranberries and grate the clementine zest all over



You can easily swap out the regular milk for oat milk or almond milk.  You could also use maple syrup or golden syrup instead of honey.

Cranberry and Cinnamon Mulled Cider

This warming spicy drink is the most brilliant and fun alternative to mulled wine. I love putting a pot if this on the stove when I’m having a Christmas party.  It always surprises people when they’re expecting the taste of mulled wine. Making it will fill your home with the most glorious scent of Christmas and have everyone thirsting for a glass.

Kitchen Tools Needed: Cole & Mason Cambridge 20 Jar Herb & Spice Rack Carousel

Prep: 5 mins

Cooking Time: 15 mins

Difficulty:  Very Easy

Serves: 12


  • 1.5 litres good-quality traditional cider 
  • ½ litre cranberry juice
  • 3 cloves 
  • 2 star anise 
  • 2 cinnamon sticks 
  • A handful of fresh cranberries
  • The juice and finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 4–5 tablespoons caster sugar


  1. Pour the cider and cranberry juice into a large pan on a low heat and let it warm through for a few minutes. Add all the spices, orange zest and juice and turn the heat up. Once boiling, turn down to a simmer and leave to gently bubble away for 5 minutes. The spices will infuse into the juices as it slowly heats through.
  1. Stir in a little sugar and then taste it.  You don’t want it too sweet; it should still have that sharp bite from the cider and cranberry juice.  Ladle into glasses or mugs and serve warm.


The longer you let the spices infuse into the liquid the stronger the festive flavours will be.  You can also make this the day before and reheat it just before your guests arrive so the whole house has a wonderfully festive aroma.

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