Sugared Cranberries make a fabulous garnish for pies, cocktails, holiday sides or on top of a cake. They also make a welcomed and delicious gift or snack! [VIDEO below] See blog post for tips and variations. *You'll need about half a 12 ounce bag to make this recipe (to yield about 1 cup). For two cups, this recipe doubles with ease.
In a small sauce-pot, whisk water and 1/2 cup (135 grams) of sugar to combine. Bring just to a simmer and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add a scraped vanilla bean pod if desired. Remove from heat and stir in the cranberries so that they are coated evenly with the sugar syrup. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes.
Strain, reserving the syrup*. Separate the cranberries and place on a piece of parchment paper on a wire cooling rack. Allow to dry out at room temperature for one hour.
Place the remaining sugar on a plate and transfer the cranberries to the plate, rolling the cranberries in the sugar to coat. This is sticky, but as the cranberries get coated, they wont stick to your hands as much.
Place the cranberries in a lidded container with a little pinch bowl of rice ( a couple of teaspoons ). The rice helps keep the cranberries fresh by absorbing any moisture in the air. Sugar loves water and will pull it right out of the air making your cranberries soggy quicker than if not using the rice. The cranberries will stay fresh for two days or up to four depending on how fresh the cranberries are. After two-three days, you may notice the cranberries "weeping." To freshen them up again, simply toss them with more sugar.
Reserve the sugar syrup for cocktails. I typically use cane sugar in this recipe but granulated sugar works well too. For reference, the blog pictures are cane sugar, the video uses granulated sugar.