I love Thanksgiving – in fact I love it so much that as a kid, I would have my mom make me Thanksgiving dinner for my birthday….in July. My absolute favorite part of the whole meal? Her cranberry sauce. I always have my mom make an extra batch just so I can eat it with a spoon. Or with chocolate. Yeah, try that.
Thanksgiving is usually the one and only time of year when people cook with cranberries. After Thanksgiving, these little red gems get pushed aside by peppermint, chocolate, molasses, and spice and other seasonal Christmas treats. Well, I’m here to say that cranberries most certainly deserve to be used more than once this year and that they can hang with their choco-peppermint and gingerbread rivals.
This year, I made it my mission to cook with cranberries during the holiday season. I bought three bags of them while they were on sale a few weeks and they have been sitting in my freezer ever since. I was stumped on what exactly to do with them besides pop them in champagne or top my oatmeal with them. I thought about putting them in a bread, or making cookies with them, or perhaps even just making a good compote but then, I thought about sparkly sugared cranberries.
Although I’ve seen sugared cranberries, I’ve never made them. After making them to top a cheesecake, I can say that I will be making these all.the.time. They are the most addictive, gorgeous little sweet-tart gems that are perfect for topping cakes and also great on their own. They’re slightly tart but sweet, crunchy but juicy, and so freaking pretty. My love of cranberries has now extended far past Thanksgiving and my mom’s amazing cranberry sauce. Who knew that all cranberries needed to be the quintessential holiday treat was to put on a sparkly party dress?
slightly adapted from 101 cookbooks
*Be sure to start this a day ahead.
2 cups cranberries
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
larger granulated sugar for coating + regular sugar
1.Rinse your cranberries and dry them. Place them in a large glass bowl.
2.Make your simple syrup by combining water and sugar in a saucepot and heating over medium-low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is clear. Don’t let it boil or simmer. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
3. Once your simple syrup has cooled, pour syrup over the cranberries in bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight.
4. After your cranberries have soaked, remove them in very small batches and toss them with larger grained sugar until coated. Be mindful not to get the sugar too wet or it gets a bit clumpy. Tip: I used a paper bag filled with sugar to coat the cranberries.
5. Set cranberries on a parchment lined baking sheet to dry for a few hours.
6. Toss again with regular sugar and set on parchment lined baking sheet to dry for another hour.
7. Top your dessert or place in a pretty bowl. Try not to eat all of them but I won’t tell if you do.