Tis the season for sparkle, glitter and fresh cranberries. And like little jewels, these cranberries sparkle! Use sugared cranberries to add bursts of flavor to your holiday recipes and provide a beautiful garnish with vibrant color on your food and dessert plates. Soaking the berries in simple syrup overnight tames down the extreme tartness that raw berries have, but there is still enough tartness left to contrast with the sugary coating to give surprising bursts of flavor when you pop them in your mouth.
Package sugared cranberries in attractive tins to give as gifts, or serve them in a bowl on your holiday table along with the nuts and pretzels.
Use fresh cranberries when they are available in the fall. Frozen cranberries can also be used for sugaring, just let them thaw before using
2 cups fresh cranberries
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
¾ cup superfine sugar
Tip: Superfine sugar is just granulated, white sugar that has been ground down to be a finer texture. It can be made easily by putting granulated sugar into a food processor, blender, or small grinder and processing into fine granules.
- Pick over the cranberries to remove stems and discard any that are brown or soft. Place cranberries in a medium size bowl.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the granulated sugar and water and heat just to a simmer. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for about 2 minutes and then pour over the cranberries.
Tip: It’s important that the water is not boiling or overly hot as this will cause the berries to burst. Don’t worry if any of the berries do crack or burst, they will still be ok to use.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
- Drain the cranberries in a colander over a bowl to reserve the cranberry flavored syrup. Shake the colander to remove excess liquid from the cranberries.
Tip: the cranberry syrup can be discarded, or use in beverages such as mixed drinks or holiday beverages.
- Sprinkle about ½ of the superfine sugar on a large baking sheet with ½ inch sides.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cranberries to the baking sheet, spreading the cranberries in a single layer. Shake the pan to roll the cranberries in the sugar. Sprinkle the remaining superfine sugar over the cranberries, and shake the pan to roll the cranberries until they are thoroughly coated with sugar. Try not to touch the cranberries with your fingers as this may rub off the sugar. Separate any cranberries that are stuck together.
- Let the cranberries sit and dry on the baking sheet for several hours, shaking the pan occasionally to roll the cranberries so they dry evenly on all sides.
- Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to a week. If storing in the refrigerator, do not cover tightly with plastic wrap as condensation may form under the plastic and soften the sugar coating.
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