Cranberries seem to be the quintessential holiday flavor. I saw them everywhere this past Thanksgiving.
I do admit, they provide a great tart flavor contrast to savory dishes like stuffing & biscuits while also cutting the sweetness in desserts like pecan pie.
And how can you beat the beautiful bright red color!
I have always loved dried cranberries. I can eat crasins almost non-stop and cranberry sauce is my favorite thing about Thanksgiving.
But, this was the first Thanksgiving I have ever bough whole, fresh cranberries.
I’m so glad I decided to try something new. My sister made fresh cranberry sauce, and I made candied cranberries.
We both agreed the sauce was the best we have ever had, and the candied cranberries are going to become a new holiday tradition.
If you have never had a cranberry in its close to natural state like this, you should try this recipe immediately. The tartness from the cranberries is not at all overwhelming, and they are just sweet enough to feel like a treat.
I made them two different ways, once with orange liqueur and once with coconut extract. Both recipes were absolutely delicious.
If you are going to be serving these to children, you might want to use something like coconut extract. I think orange extract would also match the tartness of the cranberries well.
- 2 1/2 cups sugar, plus more to cover the cranberries
- 1 3/4 cups water
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp orange liqueur – or orange/coconut extract
- 1 – 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries
- Combine the 2 1/2 cups sugar, water, vanilla, and other flavoring of choice into a large saucepan.
- Heat the pan until the sugar is dissolved, but never let the mixture boil.
- Once it is fairly hot, pour in the cranberries and stir to cover every cranberry in syrup.
- The hot syrup saturates the cranberries, and continuously sweetens them as long as the are sitting in the syrup.
I then poured everything into a large bowl, and covered the berries with a heavy plate. This kept them submerged in the syrup. Leave the berries in the refrigerator for 4-8 hours, or overnight to allow them to absorb enough sugar to cut some of the natural tartness.
- Retrieve your now deliciously sweetened cranberries from the refrigerator. Pour 1 cup – 1 1/2 cups sugar into a pan, and set another large cookie sheet near by.
- Drain the cranberries…I used a slotted spoon for this task.
- Then roll/shake them in the sugar you have set out, then transfer them to the other cookie sheet. Try and keep them in one flat layer to allow them to dry properly.
We found these to be even more delicious when stored in the refrigerator. They are a lot like a natural skittle, and definitely a crowd pleaser!