Why This Recipe Works
What combination of basic ingredients—cranberries, sweetener, and liquid—would give us a cranberry sauce recipe with a clean, pure cranberry flavor and with enough sweetness to temper the assertively tart fruit but not so much that the sauce would be cloying or candylike? It turned out that simpler was better. White table sugar balanced the tartness of the cranberries without adding a flavor profile of its own. As for liquid, water—not cider, orange juice, or cranberry juice—won out in our cranberry sauce recipe. We also discovered that adding just a pinch of salt brought out an unexpected sweetness in the berries, heightening the flavor of the sauce overall.