Sparkling Sugared Cranberries for the Holidays

As soon as I saw these Sugar Covered Cranberries over on The Clever Carrot, I know I wanted to make them. So, I immediately pinned the recipe to my Pinterest board. To be honest, I Pin lots of things that I want to make, but I don't always get around to actually making them. The difference this time? My cranberry-loving son. He saw the pic and said, "Can we make these? Right now?" So, of course, I said, "Yes!"

Cranberries are easily accessible—and wonderfully tasty—this time of year. Plus, they are very nutritious; you can read about some of the health benefits in my Cranberry Lassi post.

Of course, cranberries are very tart, but the sugar provides a sweet balance. My son said, "Ooh, they're so tart and so sweet. Like lemonade!" They're sort of a healthy version of Sour Patch Kids: tart on the inside, sweet on the outside.

Happy sous chef.

I followed The Clever Carrot's instructions—find the full recipe here. The only difference is that I used vanilla sugar (which I wrote about in this Grilled Peach Melba recipe), for a hint of that lovely flavor. To make it, keep used vanilla bean pods in your container of sugar; yup, it's that easy.

The recipe takes some time and patience, but it's simple enough that a five-year-old can do it!

yield: 2 cups

Simple Syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries, cleaned and picked over
  • up to 1 cup vanilla organic cane sugar 

It looks like berries in snow, doesn't it? So darn pretty.

Some notes on my experience with the original recipe:
  • I guess I didn't wait quite long enough for the syrup to cool. Two of my cranberries burst. So, they didn't get rolled in sugar, they got eaten. No harm, no foul.
  • Instead of putting a plate on top of the cranberries in the syrup, I put water in a sealed ziploc bag and placed it on top. It did a great job of keeping the berries submerged.
  • I used about a tablespoon of sugar at a time on the plate to coat the berries; I didn't want to risk getting a lot of sugar clumpy from any moisture. I just added more sugar to the plate, as necessary. I only ended up using about four tablespoons.

  • My wire racks were way too big to rest the cranberries on; they would've fallen right through the slats. So, I placed the berries on top of a large splatter screen, which I then rested on my regular cooling racks. It did the trick!

I'm supposed to bring a fruit platter to Thanksgiving and you'd better believe that these sweet berries are going to make it onto that platter, along with my Dark Chocolate-Dipped Pineapple. Happy holidays!

I also had some of these this morning for breakfast, over plain Greek yogurt. It was a lovely sweet/tart treat!


  1. Emilie@TheCleverCarrotNovember 25, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    These are PERFECT! I love it (must try with vanilla sugar!) And what a great idea letting them dry on a splatter screen. These will look so pretty on your fruit platter :)

  2. Thanks for teaching me the technique!


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