Sugared Cranberries as Garnish for Cocktails, Dessert & More
A two-ingredient cranberry recipe
Once rolled in sugar and then dried, these sugared cranberries develop a slightly crunchy, candy shell. But the berries retain their bright, jewel-tone hue and soft flesh underneath the candy coating. Best of all, this easy candied cranberry recipe only requires two ingredients, just fresh cranberries and ordinary, granulated sugar.
How do you make sugared cranberries?
Making sugar-coated cranberries is a two-step process. First, you make a simple syrup with sugar and water and soak the cranberries in the sugar syrup. Then you drain the cranberries before rolling them in sugar. The effect makes the fruit look like a frosted cranberry, as though each berry was dusted with snow.
You can store the cranberries, refrigerated, in an air-tight container for up to one week. If they start to feel soft or weepy, just roll them in additional sugar before using as a garnish or snack.
The process of making sugar-rolled cranberries couldn’t be easier but it does take time to soak and drain the berries, so map out your timing before you start.
Equipment needed for this recipe
In addition to a saucepan and a storage container, you need one important piece of equipment to make sugar-coated cranberries, a rack where they can dry. But a normal cooling rack won’t work. The mesh has to be fine enough that the cranberries can’t fall through. I actually use a mesh air fryer basket over a baking sheet, which catches the drips.
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Uses for this candied cranberries recipe
If you were ever wondering how to garnish cocktails for the holidays, this is your answer! But this cranberry recipe shouldn’t be limited to cocktails.
The sugar-coated cranberries work as a brightly-colored garnish even for savory dishes like roast turkey, chicken or duck, spiced lamb or roast pork loin. And these gorgeous, sugar-coated berries are among my favorite winter dessert garnish ideas. Use them to add seasonal color to bundt cake, spice cake or even chocolate pudding.
Your only limit is your own imagination.
Why these sugar-coated berries make a healthy snack
Although these candied cranberries are great as a cocktail garnish, I just like snacking on a bowl of these glistening crimson gems. Since cranberries are loaded with antioxidants, this sweetened cranberry snack is fairly healthy. Yes, they’re coated in sugar, but fresh cranberries are a source of fiber and are remarkably rich in vitamin C.
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Are there different types of cranberries?
Because I spend time on Cape Cod every summer, I am familiar with seeing cranberries grow and flourish. But did you know that there are different varieties of cranberries suited to different uses? And there are even different ways of harvesting cranberries!
Because they’re grown in bogs you might think these scarlet fruits come from soggy plants in swampy conditions. But in actuality, cranberries grow on dry ground, on little, trailing plants – sort of like strawberries. Because cranberries have pockets of air under their skin, they will float if their growing area, or bog, is flooded.
However, there are a number of varieties of cranberries that are dry-harvested, without flooding. I find that the cranberries that are dry-harvested have a more intense flavor. My recipe for Sugared Cranberries works best with dry harvested fruit if you can get your hands on some. But don’t worry if you can’t! The recipe is also delicious and equally beautiful with the bag of cranberries you find in the produce aisle of your local grocery store.
Did you know that cranberries are aphrodisiacs?
This site is all about the use of foods for romantic occasions. And this cranberry candy has more to offer than just a romantic red hue. Cranberries are actually considered aphrodisiacs. They are linked with both heart health and sexual health. Here’s some more information on all the reasons you should eat more cranberries.
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- 3/4 cup granulated sugar divided
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup cranberries
- Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, about 1-2 minutes.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer for an additional 4-5 minutes to make a simple syrup.
- Remove the syrup from the heat and add the cranberries, stirring to coat all fruit.
- Rest the berries in syrup for 5 minutes then transfer to a storage container. Store for a minimum of 4 hours to overnight.
- Strain the cranberries from the syrup and transfer the to a wire rack to dry for at least 1 hour. (You can save any leftover cranberry syrup to flavor Holiday cocktails
- Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar to a bowl and roll the cranberries in the sugar. Transfer the sugared berries to parchment paper to dry. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to one week.
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