‘Twas the Night Before the Night Before…

Miss Trudy under the treeThis week I’m enjoying a buswoman’s holiday: I’m taking off from developing recipes and writing cookbooks to spend some time in the kitchen. There’s a difference between cooking for work and cooking for play. I get to make whatever I want, and I don’t have to keep making it over and over again until it’s perfect. I can toss in ingredients without measuring. And there’s no need to take copious notes. I love my work, but this is pure fun.

Today’s project: sugared cranberries. I’ve adapted my technique from Heidi Swanson’s Sparkling Cranberries. Her recipe is great just as it is, but I’ve made a few modifications to suit my own taste.

The berries look gorgeous and they could hardly be easier. Pop one in your mouth and a tart squirt of juice balances the sugary coating. A bonus is the leftover soaking syrup, which I will serve at Christmas brunch to imbue flutes of sparkling wine or fizzy water with a sweet-tart flavor and a rosy hue. I may even make them again for New Year’s Eve and Day.

Sugared Cranberries

3 cups (one 12-ounce bag) fresh or frozen cranberries

1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for tossing the berries

1/2 vanilla bean, split

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Put the berries into a strainer. Rinse and pick them over to remove any stems or damaged berries.

Put 1 cup of the sugar, the vanilla bean, and the salt in a medium saucepan. Stir in 1 cup of water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. The mixture should be simmering gently but not fully boiling. Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool about 5 minutes.

Add the drained cranberries and stir to coat them with the syrup. Set aside until the mixture reaches room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

Put a large medium-mesh strainer over a bowl to catch the syrup, then pour the cranberries into the strainer. (Remove the vanilla bean, rinse, let dry, and use again or store in your sugar jar to gently scent it.) Let the berries stand in the strainer for 15 to 30 minutes, until well drained.

berries in strainer

Holding the strainer over a rimmed baking sheet or large bowl, sprinkle sugar over the berries, tossing the berries in the strainer to coat them. Continue adding sugar and tossing the berries until they are well coated. (It if is not too damp, you can scoop up the sugar that falls through the strainer and use it again. It may clump a bit, but it will be a pretty pink and will add some texture to the sugared berries.)

sugared cranberries in strainer

Transfer the berries to a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the syrup into a clean glass jar or bottle, cover, and refrigerate.

sugared cranberries on baking sheet

Put the pan in the oven, set it to 100F, and set the timer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn off the oven but leave the berries inside. Let them stand several hours or overnight to allow the syrup to dry.

Before serving, sprinkle the berries on the baking sheet with additional sugar and roll them around to coat any bare spots with sugar.

Put the sugared berries into a bowl, and serve.

sugared cranberries

 

Sugared Cranberries
 
These easy to make sugared cranberries make a brilliant addition to the holiday table.
Author:
Recipe type: Holiday
What You'll Need
  • 3 cups (one 12-ounce bag) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for tossing the berries
  • ½ vanilla bean, split
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
What To Do
  1. Put the berries into a strainer. Rinse and pick them over to remove any stems or damaged berries.
  2. Put 1 cup of the sugar, the vanilla bean, and the salt in a medium saucepan.
  3. Stir in 1 cup of water.
  4. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. The mixture should be simmering gently but not fully boiling.
  5. Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the drained cranberries and stir to coat them with the syrup.
  7. Set aside until the mixture reaches room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
  8. Put a large medium-mesh strainer over a bowl to catch the syrup, then pour the cranberries into the strainer. (Remove the vanilla bean, rinse, let dry, and use again or store in your sugar jar to gently scent it.) Let the berries stand in the strainer for 15 to 30 minutes, until well drained.
  9. Holding the strainer over a rimmed baking sheet or large bowl, sprinkle sugar over the berries, tossing the berries in the strainer to coat them. Continue adding sugar and tossing the berries until they are well coated. (It if is not too damp, you can scoop up the sugar that falls through the strainer and use it again. It may clump a bit, but it will be a pretty pink and will add some texture to the sugared berries.)
  10. Transfer the berries to a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the syrup into a clean glass jar or bottle, cover, and refrigerate.
  11. Put the pan in the oven, set it to 100F, and set the timer for 20 minutes.
  12. After 20 minutes, turn off the oven but leave the berries inside. Let them stand several hours or overnight to allow the syrup to dry.
  13. Before serving, sprinkle the berries on the baking sheet with additional sugar and roll them around to coat any bare spots with sugar.
  14. Put the sugared berries into a bowl, and serve.
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