Too early in spring. Too late in summer. Midwinter. We know the temptation to buy those tempting pints of raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries even when we know they’re a little–or a lot–less than perfect.

The solution is simple. Just douse the little roly-polies with simple syrup and roll them in ordinary granulated sugar. The whole process requires just a saucepan and a clean brush of some sort. The sweet little somethings that result turn even eye-twitchingly tart berries into an eye-catching embellishment for vanilla bean ice cream and coconut cake and New York-style cheesecake and, oh my, truth be told, just about anything.–Cheryl Day and Griffith Day

LC Broad Brushstrokes Note

Unlike painting the walls of your domicile, painting berries requires little exactitude and far, far less prep work. There are no worries about brushstrokes showing. No concern if a little too much dribbled off onto the carpet, er, parchment. Just paint to your heart’s content seeing as all manner of sloppiness or sin will be disguised by a sprinkling of sugar. Best yet, you can lick your fingers afterward rather than scrub them with turpentine. You’re welcome.

Various berries and fruit dipped in sugar on a sheet of parchment.

Sugar-Dipped Fruit

5 / 2 votes
We know the temptation to buy those tempting pints of raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. If you have too many or they are less than perfect, the solution is simple. Douse them in simple syrup and roll them in granulated sugar for a beautiful and tasty treat.
David Leite
Servings2 servings
Calories345 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes


  • A new, clean pastry or paint or watercolor brush


  • Simple syrup
  • Berries of all shapes and colors, or, come midwinter, kumquats
  • Granulated sugar


  • Let the simple syrup cool to room temperature or, if you have it stashed in the fridge, you can use it chilled.
  • Rinse the berries or kumquats and pat them dry. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour the sugar into a shallow bowl.
  • Place the fruit in a single layer on the parchment. Lightly dip your brush in the simple syrup and paint the berries, avoiding the hull portion if using strawberries. Allow any excess syrup to drip off and then roll the fruit in the sugar to evenly coat. Set the fruit aside on the parchment to dry until no longer sticky.
The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

Adapted From

The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

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Serving: 1 servingCalories: 345 kcalCarbohydrates: 90 gProtein: 0.3 gFat: 1 gSaturated Fat: 0.04 gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1 gSodium: 26 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 87 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2012 Cheryl Day | Griffith Day. Photo © 2012 Squire Fox. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This is so simple that I feel almost foolish giving it a testers’ choice designation. However, with a huge amount of fresh berries on hand, I decided that this was the perfect thing to go with any of several desserts after a special outdoor dinner. Brushing the berries with the syrup, rolling them in sugar, and then drying them gives the fruit a nice, sweet crunchiness without them being too cloyingly sweet. I used fresh blueberries and freshly picked strawberries. We had planned to serve puff pastry shells with chantilly cream and were wondering what to serve on top…and this was perfect! We also had some locally made vanilla ice cream and pound cake that were wonderful topped with this. A nice change from the usual ice cream toppings and a very good summer dessert.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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  1. Can you make these a day ahead? If so, how do you store them overnight? I need these for a party for tomorrow at 4 pm. And if you don’t have a brush, will dipping and dabbing on a paper towel work? Thank you!

    1. Dipping and dabbing should work just fine, Kelly, although I wouldn’t make them an entire day ahead as the moisture in the fruit could cause the fruit to weep and the sugar to disappear. A couple hours, though, will be perfectly fine. Have a lovely party!

  2. How long do they take to dry? Making for the first time this weekend for a wedding and was going to do it the day of. Need to know if i should let dry overnight. Thanks

    1. Amanda, early in the morning would be ideal as we worry the fruit may absorb some of the sugar and begin to weep (exude moisture) and get soggy. You may want to experiment early this week with a couple of the fruits you intend to use on the wedding day just to see how they hold up over a stretch of time, and then you can plan when you make them accordingly. So kind of you to make these for a loved one!