A simple sugared cranberries recipe – get perfectly sparkling, sugar-frosted, crunchy frosted cranberries that are a delight to eat and look at. A super easy snack idea and a fun edible gift!
This sugared cranberries recipe is very easy and will give you those gorgeously sugar-dusted cranberries that literally pop in your mouth through a perfectly hardened, thin layer of sugar. So addictive! Sugared cranberries look incredibly pretty in a little serving dish gathered in a heap, sparkling like plump snowy rubies. They are a great addition to any dessert table, and these gems look really attractive when sprinkled on top of a panna cotta just before serving, for example.
The preparation is very easy: you make a simple sugar syrup, leave the cranberries in it overnight, and then coat them in sugar once they’ve dried a little. Sugared cranberries are also just a really tasty little snack to make, and somehow they lose all their bitterness in the sugaring process. What is left is that juicy, intense berry flavor that is perfectly softened by the sugar coating.
You can use a regular white sugar, but if you want to optimize the beautiful sparkling effect, use two kinds: a regular sugar and a superfine sugar with tiny granules (not powdered sugar). You can roll half the cranberries in the fine sugar and the other half in the coarser sugar to have visible differences in texture.
Another way to go about it (which I used for this recipe) is to start with a very light roll around the regular sugar, and then finish the job by coating the cranberries completely in the finer sugar so that all the remaining “bald spots” are covered in sugar. This results in especially pretty coating that to me most resembles that snowy-like sparkling look. But feel free to develop your own technique, it all comes down to what pleases your eye the most.
Some recipes skip the overnight syrup bath phase completely, but I have found that it makes the syrup a little thicker and makes the sugar adhere better to the berries. The longer you let the berries dry after removing them from the syrup, the stickier the surfaces will be. This way the coating will stay put longer.
I was impatient as usual when making these and didn’t let them dry for more than 20 minutes before sugar coating them. The cranberries were perfect the whole day, but the coating started to crumble a bit the next day. So if you are pressed for time and plan to eat the sugared cranberries on the same day, you will be fine even though you shorten the drying time a little.
Sugared Cranberries Recipe
1 cup fresh cranberries
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
½ cup superfine sugar and ½ cup regular sugar for the coating
- Combine the water and ½ cup sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a light simmer while stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Once all the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and let cool until lukewarm.
- Meanwhile, wash the cranberries and remove any berries that are wrinkled. Add the berries into the lukewarm syrup, stir to coat evenly and place in the refrigerator overnight.
- Next day, remove the berries from the syrup and lay them out to dry on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes, preferably an hour. Pour the superfine and regular sugars in two bowls. Then take small handfuls of cranberries at a time and lightly swirl around in the coarse sugar, then finish with the fine sugar until all berries are completely covered. Lay the berries out to dry on a piece of parchment paper for an hour. This step is important as it prevents soggy cranberries and makes the coating harden better.