Sugared cranberries are a wonderful holiday treat and add an extra festive touch to baked goods and cocktails (or mocktails). They are easy to make and once you make a batch you’ll be hooked. Fun gift idea too!
I can’t think of anything more festive for the holiday season than cranberries. They segue from Thanksgiving cranberry sauce to all sorts of fun home decorations and edible treats. Has anyone strung them as a garland for your Christmas tree? How about floated them in a beautiful bowl of water with some floating candles for a centerpiece (they float just like the candles)? Just having a bowl of them sitting out feels like Christmas to me.
Outside of being a key ingredient in so many sweet and savory recipes, there are fun, easy recipes to prepare them as a treat or a small gift. I shared a recipe for Brandied Cranberries some time ago that I found in a vintage recipe collection. Today I’m sharing another holiday favorite: How to make Sugared Cranberries.
I’m sure you’ve seen the white sparkly orbs with some red showing through in photos or on fancy desserts. They are wonderful on cakes and cupcakes, in drinks (though they lose their sugar coating) or anywhere you are feeling it (like my Instant Pot Gingerbread Steel Cut Oats).
The process of sugaring the cranberries is easy and transforms their texture as well as flavor. The cranberries soak in a homemade simple syrup recipe overnight and then are rolled in fine baking sugar (it coats the best). The simple syrup both infuses some sweetness but also creates a coating on the cranberries allowing the extra fine sugar to stick. After sitting to fully dry for about an hour, the outer coating becomes dry and crisp creating a wonderful ‘pop’ in your mouth when eating them.
The infusion of the simple syrup coupled with the sugar coating diminishes the usual tartness for a sweeter cranberry bite. Not all cranberries are created equal, so there may be a tart one in the bunch! Once dried, their coating becomes hard so the sugar stays in place too.
The easy trick about this recipe is that all you need to rememember is to use the same amount of water, sugar and cranberries. Simple syrup is made with equal parts of water and sugar, and this tutorial for how to make sugared cranberries uses the same amount also of cranberries. This makes it simple to create batches of whatever size you need without having to remember measurements.
Giving a little jar of them as an unexpected gift for a friend or neighbor, especially one who loves to bake, is always appreciated. Of course if you want to keep them all for yourself, I’ll never tell.