The first time I made these, I vowed never to do it again…
What a complete disaster. Sticky, clumpy, and time-consuming. That’s all I have to say. When a recipe is this frustrating, a second attempt rarely comes to fruition as my patience is that of a toddler’s these days. I can be quite stubborn too (hmm…also like a toddler) so I obviously had to make them again. Here’s how to do it, the easy way:
Start 1 day in advance. The berries need to steep in a warm sugar syrup to make them less sour. Soak overnight, like so…
Drain in a colander and reserve the liquid. The leftover syrup can be used to sweeten cocktails. Don’t throw it away!
Pour the berries back into a bowl and pat dry with paper towels. They should feel tacky, but not wet. In my previous attempt, I let the cranberries drip dry on a wire rack. I later realized that using paper towels was a lot quicker.
Time to get rolling…(literally!)
Choose a sugar that is chunky in texture so that you can see it sparkle. Organic cane sugar or Turbinado is a good choice. You can find them in most supermarkets or in health food stores. Here’s the critical part- you need to work in batches. Toss 3-4 berries at a time with a little sugar, and jiggle them around in a bowl to coat. Do not be tempted to dump everything in at once or else the sugar will clump. If this happens, just change it out and start again.
Let the berries dry for a couple of hours on a wire rack. They are ready when the sugar is slightly firm, like a crust.
And that’s it! Now you have beautiful, sugar covered cranberries.
These festive little baubles are tart and sweet, and make a great snappy sound when you pop them in your mouth. If you plan ahead and give yourself some extra time, they’re not difficult to make either. Try them scattered onto a cheese plate or with desserts. They’re incredibly sparkly and will look great on any holiday table!
*This recipe was tested with fresh cranberries only.
- 1 c. sugar
- 1 c. water
- 2 c. fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over
- 1 c. Organic cane sugar or Turbinado for rolling
- To make the sugar syrup, bring the sugar and water to a gentle simmer. Use a whisk to help break up the crystals. Do not boil. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, rinse your cranberries discarding any bruised or damaged ones. You want firm berries. Pour them into a bowl.
- Add the warm sugar syrup to the bowl. If the syrup is too hot, the cranberries will burst. Test a small batch if need be.
- The cranberries will naturally float to the surface so cover them with a plate to keep them submerged. Once completely cool, cover the bowl (and plate) with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge overnight.
- To make the cranberries, drain them in a colander reserving the syrup. You will not need the syrup in this recipe, however you can save it to sweeten cocktails.
- Transfer the berries to a large shallow bowl lined with paper towels. Pat dry to absorb all of the liquid. You want the cranberries to feel tacky, but not wet.
- In a small bowl, add about 2 tablespoons of either organic cane sugar or Turbinado. Add only 3-4 berries and jiggle them around in the bowl to coat. Make sure not to overcrowd the bowl as the sugar will get wet and clump. If this happens, just change it out and start again.
- Transfer the berries to a wire rack and allow to dry for a couple of hours, minimum of 2. They are ready when the sugar is slightly firm, forming a crust.