Cranberry Tip-Top Salad

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Every year for Thanksgiving dinner we used to eat this cranberry salad at my grandma's house. I'm not sure where she got the recipe nor do I know why she always called it "Tip-Top". All I do know is that now I always serve it at my Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and it will always remind me of my grandma. Oh, and it tastes great too! I love the sweet of the cream cheese and cream mixed with the tart of the cranberry. Of course, I took a good thing, and made it better, because that's how I roll. So here is my grandma's traditional Cranberry Tip Top done my way. I hope it becomes one of your holiday traditions as well.
Click here for printable recipe. 

Posted by Jen. 

The Ingredients:

2 cans cranberry jelly (not whole)
3 Tbsp orange juice (squeezed from 1/2 orange)
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip)
1/2 c powdered sugar
zest of 1 orange
8 oz Cool Whip
chopped walnuts, optional

The Directions:
Beat together softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, and powdered sugar until smooth. Zest orange over bowl (just the orange part!). Mix well together.
Fold or stir in the Cool Whip so that it is all incorporated. (now I've got "Kids Incorporated" theme running through my head.Ha! Now, so do you! Is that showing my age?!) Moving on...
*At this point you would mix in some nuts if you are using them. My grandma always used chopped walnuts, but A. I don't like Walnuts and B. My son has a severe nut allergy, so I never use them. Your choice. I'd use maybe a 1/2 cup.

Spread mixture into a 9 x 13 pan and cover with plastic wrap. Make sure that the plastic wrap touches the creamy layer. Place into freezer for about 1 hour and make cranberry mixture.
Pour 2 cans of cranberry jelly into a bowl and squeeze the juice out of 1/2 the orange you zested. Beat until smooth and there are no cranberry jelly lumps.

Spread over the frozen cream mixture. Again cover with plastic wrap and make sure that the plastic is touching the cranberry layer. Freeze until ready to serve.

Fancy Version:
If you have a Bundt pan or other fancy looking bowl, you can make this inverted to have a beautiful salad presentation at your holiday table. Just reverse the order of doing everything. Place the cranberry mixture on the bottom of the Bundt pan and freeze. Then put the cream layer on top and again cover and freeze. When serving, place Bundt pan in bowl of hot water to loosen the frozen salad, and invert onto a plate. This way you have the cranberry on top!


Julie November 23, 2011 at 10:23 PM  

That mayo in there threw me off a little, but it sounds like a wonderful combo of sweet and tart :) Have a great thanksgiving!

teresa November 27, 2011 at 5:41 PM  

i love this recipe, it's so classic! i hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving!

Unknown November 28, 2011 at 6:13 AM  

I really don't think I have tried anything like this before. Of course, now I want to try it.

I love your blog!

Anonymous,  December 22, 2013 at 6:49 PM  

A variation of this recipe has been part of our family's Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners since before I've been born (I'm 47!). Our family mixes 3 T. fresh lemon juice into the cranberry sauce (Only Ocean Spray will do). We don't add orange to the cream cheese mix, but it sounds delicious.
For molding, my Mom used Dixie cups, spooning the cranberry sauce on the bottom, then covered with the whipped cream mixture. After frozen, just peel the Dixie cup and place in a small dish, whipped cream side down. We've also used "copper" molds, which can still be found in resale shops from time to time.
It isn't Thanksgiving/Christmas without cranberry tip tops!

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My name is Lara and while I'm definitely not a gourmet cook, I do love preparing tasty, healthy meals for my family. Finding new recipes to try and sharing the ones we've already fallen in love with is a passion I've had since college and the reason why I've started this blog! With five kids, I'm usually in a hurry, so you'll find most of these recipes kid friendly and simple to make.

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