I’ve been working on a little festive snack to have available for munching. I’ve been hoping that although it’s not overly healthy, it’s a step into getting Larry to start eating fruits. *grin* So when one of my favorite blogs posted a recipe for sugared cranberries I figured this was the one that would probably be the most likely to succeed with Larry. He loves tart and sour foods, as in he can actually straight up eat a lemon and enjoy it. *shuddering in mock horror* I’m more into mild flavors, probably because of my sensitivities from my illness that makes most regular things pack quite a punch to me.
I’m not going to post the actually recipe, since the blogger did a fantastic job, and I love recommending their awesome blog, so if you like what you see and read here, then hop over to Our Best Bites for the recipe please.
First off you rinse the fresh cranberries and then soak them overnight in simple syrup (I soaked them for 24 hours actually and used their 1:1 ratio syrup).
Since cranberries naturally float I had them in a large measuring cup with the syrup, and then an empty margarine tub filled halfway with tap water to work as a weight, which I placed on top of as many of the cranberries as possible, and then I wrapped it in plastic wrap to try and keep the cranberries as submerged as possible. Basically:
Scoop the berries out and let dry for an hour on a drying rack over foil. Now, the recipe said to make sure they weren’t touching. Um, pretty much impossible for me, since they kept trying to roll off if they were anywhere near the edges. *laugh* As long as you work with the berries after that hour then they’re easy to pull apart if they happen to stick together. Since I’m a slow mover the ones at the end of my project dried the longest and a few needed a little umph to pop apart. If you’re not going to work with the berries for a while I’d definitely recommend that you follow their instructions to keep them from touching, even if you need to do two separate trays!
After they’ve dried you put a handful into some sugar and coat them. Now, I had a brain fart when I made my grocery list and forgot that the recipe recommends a coarser sugar, so I only had plain granulated sugar. It works, but you can’t just roll them in the sugar and call it good. To make a good coating with plain granulated I found that rolling all of the handful together first, and then working individually after that worked best. The initial roll keeps any of them from sticking, especially if they are bouncing into one another while you work the sugar around. Then I found that mounding and patting the sugar onto the berries seemed to hold the best. The coarser sugar is supposed to cover the berries much better and I bet it’s much easier to work with for this. Anyway, I also noticed that the longer I worked, the coarser my sugar became because of the syrup clumping some of it, and the better it covered, so when I ran out of sugar and had to add fresh, I dipped my fingers into some syrup and then swirled into the sugar. My fingers got coated, so then I just rubbed them together and let the clumps fall into the sugar, and mixed them into the rest of the sugar. It made all of my fresh sugar a bit coarse and the coating process went much faster then.
It took me a lot longer than I expected to roll one bag’s worth of sugared cranberries, almost an hour and a half total. I’m a slow mover these days, but even for me that’s a bit long. I think the coarser sugar would massively speed things up, plus make sure you’re generous with the amount of sugar in your bowl for rolling! The more abundant it is, the easier it goes on. I’d much prefer to throw some leftover sugar out next time over spending so much time at this. *laugh* The coated berries dried on a wax paper lined cookie sheet for two hours. I think next time I’ll let them sit an extra hour. The coating was mostly hard, but I noticed that the coating was vet crumbly and came off easily as I moved them individually to the container, so I’d recommend three hours. If your home’s air is moist I might consider just a little more drying time even.
Anyway, let them dry and then transfer them to a container. I’m using a cake pan that has a snap on lid for easy access for snacking. They emphasize in the recipe to keep them in a single layer to reduce rubbing off the coating. I think they look gorgeous and they’d be beautiful in a small crystal bowl as an after the big meal cleanser. Although it didn’t show up in the picture the sugar sparkles with the light; they look almost like a frost hit and you brought them right inside, so the ice is still sparkling and coating them. *happy sigh*
They are truly pretty good and probably a healthier little snack than some options that are readily available at this time of the year. I’m a fan of cherry craisins, but not cranberries themselves, since I drank cran everything for most of my childhood, but I actually like these, so that says a lot! They’re totally worth trying again, too. I learned a lot this round and even thought of a few things I want to try next time. I think I’ll add some cherry extract to my simple syrup and see if I can incorporate a little of that flavor since I love cherry craisins so much. Also, I’ll definitely use a mixture of the finer sugar with a coarser one. I love that this recipe actually leaves you a lot of little options to tweak to your family’s preference, too.
I hope you’ll give these little treats a try and also that you’ll take a peek at some of the great recipes that the ladies over at Our Best Bites post. (And no, I received absolutely nothing from them for this recommendation or post. I just like them, and this snack, so I wanted to share. *smile*) I hope you have a relaxing start to your holiday week and that you carve out (see what I did there? lol) a little time to pamper yourself. 🙂