I first admired these sugared cranberries on the front cover of this month’s Cooking Light magazine. They were used to garnish a festive holiday cheesecake, and though they shimmered quite prettily, I doubted that they would taste as good as they looked.
As luck would have it, one of The Astronomer’s colleagues brought these jewel-like fruits to our Sunday brunch a few weeks back. I was seated next to the tub and couldn’t keep my paws off them the entire meal. Whereas cranberries are usually much too tart to eat straight up, these sugared ones, which were soaked in simple syrup and dusted in superfine sugar, were balanced and delicious. The sweet bath and even sweeter coating improved upon the fruit without taking away any of its freshness or characteristic punch.
I made this batch of sugared cranberries soon after The Astronomer and I polished off the ones left behind from brunch. I didn’t have superfine or turbinado sugar in my pantry, but found that granulated sugar made a fine substitute. Sugared cranberries are fantastic eaten straight from the bowl like candy or used as an adorable garnish atop cakes and cupcakes. ‘Tis the season for sparkly fruit!
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup superfine sugar or turbinado sugar
Rinse the cranberries under running water. Remove any bruised or mushy fruit and discard. Set aside.
Combine 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 cup of water in a small heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer; remove from heat.
Combine the sugar syrup and cranberries in a small bowl. Cover and chill for 4 hours.
Drain the cranberries in a colander over a bowl, reserving liquid for another use, if desired. Place the superfine or turbinado sugar in a shallow dish or rimmed plate. Add the cranberries, a few at a time, rolling to coat.
Spread the sugared cranberries in a single layer on a baking sheet; let stand at room temperature 1 hour or until dry.
Use the cranberries as an elegant garnish for pies, cakes, or puddings. I prefer to forgo the pomp and circumstance and just pop ‘em in my mouth.