I first saw this concept on Heidi Swanson’s blog 101 Cookbooks. She called them “sparkling cranberries,” and they sparkle in more ways than one. Raw cranberries straight from the bog are usually too tart to enjoy on their own, but an overnight bath in sugar syrup mellows their acidic flavor and helps to form a crackly sugar shell on the outside. I like to add a few orange peels to the sugar syrup for a hint of citrus. These sparkly gems make an irresistible sweet-tart snack packed with antioxidants. Kids love them. They can also double as a festive garnish. The orange-flavored syrup makes fantastic cocktails, or you can reuse the syrup to make another batch of cranberries. Keep in mind that these will only be as good as the quality of the cranberries themselves, so be sure to pick through the berries well and select only those that are firm, bright, and bouncy. Discard any that are wrinkled, soft, and shriveled. Sugared cranberries don’t store particularly well, but by the day’s end, there usually aren’t any left.–Tammy Donroe Inman
LC Extra Sparkly Holiday Season Note
Cranberries and sugar. Two things you probably have in abundance right now. Why not put them to extra sparkly use as an edible garnish or centerpiece of sorts? Cocktails. Cakes. Pancakes. Waffles. French Toast. Turkey. And that’s just for starters.
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 11 H
- Makes 1 cup
- 1 cup fresh (not frozen) cranberries, washed and picked over
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/3 cup for sprinkling
- 2 strips orange zest, about 2 by 2 1/2 inches, preferably organic
- 1. Place the cranberries in a small glass bowl and set them aside.
- 2. In a medium saucepan, stir the water, 1 cup sugar, and orange peels together over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Stop stirring and bring the syrup to a bare simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and let the syrup cool for 2 to 3 minutes so the heat won’t split the skins of the berries.
- 3. Pour the slightly cooled syrup over the cranberries. Set a small bowl on top of the cranberries to submerge them under the syrup along with the peels. Cover the bowls and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to overnight.
- 4. Using a strainer, drain the cranberries over a bowl, reserving the syrup. If time permits, spread the cranberries over a metal cooling rack or a piece of parchment paper. Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar over the berries, a little at a time, tossing well to coat. The sugar may clump a little and that’s okay, but if it starts to congeal into a big wet mass, don’t add any more sugar. Remove the cranberries to a clean plate or baking sheet to dry for about 2 hours, separating any berries that are stuck together.
- 5. Sprinkle another 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar over the berries, rolling them around until they are well coated, and let them dry for another hour before serving. Leftovers can hold at room temperature for up to 1 day.