These cranberries are sweet, tart, crunchy, and unbelievably addictive- a perfect autumn snack! In addition to just snacking on them, I think they pair really well with cheese boards. They are also a fun alternative to cranberry sauce for a Thanksgiving spread. You have to plan a bit in advance since the cranberries sit in simple syrup overnight, but the actual cooking time is short.
I’ve tried this a few times and settled on using two different sugars to roll the cranberries in. I think it gives it an extra sparkle and crunch. The trick is finding the right sugar for Step 4- the crystals need to be a little bigger than granulated sugar, but smaller than raw or turbinado sugar (I use Trader Joe’s organic sugar). If you can’t find the sugar with slightly larger crystals, then using granulated sugar for Steps 4 and 5 works fine. If you are looking for more of a candy-coated feel, then use confectioner’s sugar for Steps 4 and 5. I’ve used confectioner’s sugar in the past and they taste good, but you lose some of the effect of red showing through.
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
3 cups cranberries, washed and drained (make sure to throw out the soft ones)
1/3 cup sugar with crystals larger than granulated sugar, but smaller than turbinado sugar- if you don’t have this, you can use granulated sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1. Mix 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a small pot. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves to make a syrup. There is no need to boil the syrup, just heat it until the sugar is dissolved. Remove it from the heat.
2. Place the cranberries in an airtight container. Pour the warm syrup over the cranberries. Ensure the cranberries stay submerged in the syrup by placing a plate on top to weigh them down. Cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
3. The next day, set up a small bowl with 2 tbsp of the larger crystal sugar. Also set up a baking tray lined with Silpat or parchment paper.
4. Drain the cranberries (I save the syrup to use in drinks or desserts). Take a about 1/2 cup of the cranberries and roll them in the larger crystal sugar. Transfer the cranberries to the lined baking tray. Repeat rolling the cranberries in sugar and placing them on the baking tray until all the cranberries are covered with sugar. Work quickly because you do not want the thin layer of syrup to dry on the cranberries before you get a chance to roll them in sugar. Let them dry on the baking tray for 1-2 hours- shake the tray occasionally during this time to make sure the cranberries do not stick.
5. Set up a small bowl with the granulated sugar. Repeat Step 4 by rolling the cranberries in batches in the granulated sugar and transferring them back to the baking tray. Let them dry on the baking tray for 4-6 hours.
6. Transfer the sparkling candied cranberries to an airtight container and store in the fridge until ready to serve.