I made these easy sugared cranberries as a topping for our Thanksgiving pie, which needed a bit of color and tart contrast to it’s sticky sweetness (recipe coming tomorrow).
Not only are they gorgeous, all sparkly and festive in their sugar sweaters, but they are also surprisingly delicious in their own right: sweet and sour and delightfully crunchy.
Natural sour patch kids, basically.
You wouldn’t think cranberries would be that tart, but you’d be surprised. Have you had a raw cranberry lately? Mouth-puckering. And despite the fact that these are soaked in sugar syrup, they still retain all their tartness and crunch.
No sooner had I set out a bowl of these berries, when Taylor walked by and asked what they were, barely waiting for an answer before popping one in his mouth. And then another. And another. I may have made 2 cups worth of sugared cranberries as a garnish for our pie, but they barely made it to dessert time. He was popping them like they were candy, a few here and there every time he walked by.
And if you happen to be like me and don’t think to top your pie with these sparkling gems until the day of, it’s ok if they don’t soak for quite 8 hours. They may be a bit more tart, but a quick soak as short as 2 hours will produce acceptable results.
I speak from experience on this one.
Way to plan ahead, Lindsay.
- 6 ounces (2 cups) fresh (not frozen) cranberries, rinsed and picked over
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 1 cup water
- In a saucepan, bring 1 cup sugar and water to a simmer until sugar is dissolved and syrup is crystal clear. Pour into a heat-proof bowl and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in cranberries; cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight, stirring once or twice throughout to be sure cranberries are evenly coated with syrup.
- Remove cranberries from syrup with a slotted spoon (syrup can be reused for more berries or as simple syrup in holiday cocktails, for example). Spread berries out on a wire cooling rack nested inside a rimmed baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle berries with remaining sugar, flipping berries to coat all sides. Once berries are coated with a thin layer of sugar, roll each berry in a small bowl with some more granulated sugar until evenly coated with another layer. The key here is multiple thin layers of sugar; if you put too much on at once the sugar may clump in thick spots.
- Return berries to baking sheet and let try for 1 hour. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.