Thanks to the Eat Boutique Holiday Market, I’ve hit my holiday spirit stride. It was probably all the small batch food makers, or maybe the amazing cookbook authors who signed books. The wine and beer wasn’t so bad either (meaning, just awesome!) Wait, let’s get real: the best part of the day was meeting each of you. Thank you for coming, thank you for your grace during the busiest part of the afternoon when that big line formed, thanks for being so patient and kind with each of us as we worked to get you in as quickly as possible. We learned a lot of lessons and made so many new friends. We’re grateful for both as we begin to celebrate the season. And what better way to get into the mood than with these teeny tiny sparkly fruit! With a single recipe, Denise has dressed up my cocktails, decorated my holiday table and just made my whole life easier. I hope you’ve hit your holiday stride too. -Maggie
I love how just a few of the very simplest ingredients can take an everyday dish or drink from ho hum to special. For instance, these lovely sugared cranberries are not only sweet little nibbles, but they add sparkle to a cocktail, or add texture to a creamy chocolate cake. I tend to make batches of them during the holidays, and guests adore them. Well, so do we!
Despite tons of recipes floating around out there that say the process to make these edible gems takes over 24 hours, I am happy to report that it won’t take you that long to create a little sparkle. I have tried different versions, as well as the recipe below, and am happy to say my version works out wonderfully, without soaking the cranberries for 24 hours. In fact, without soaking, I prefer how the cranberries have more texture and a nice little “pop” with each bite.
I like to add spicy ginger syrup, lemon zest or even warm cardamom bitters to my simple syrup to add a little surprise for the taste-buds. If you can find silver or gold sanding sugar, it will add even more sparkle to the finished recipe. When I cannot find it, I use superfine sugar instead.
- Place small bowls filled with sugared cranberries near the cocktails
- Add to a glass of champagne
- Sprinkle over a flourless chocolate cake
- Scatter alongside a port glazed pork tenderloin
- Garnish mascarpone panna cotta
Have fun with this recipe, and add some sparkle to your holiday gatherings. Happy Holidays!
- 1 bag of fresh cranberries (12 ounces)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups sugar (plus extra for sanding)
- 4 tablespoons Morris Kitchen ginger syrup or a knob of ginger about the size of your thumb (minced) or a couple dashes of your favorite bitters
- silver or gold sanding sugar, if you can find it
- Rinse the cranberries and pick out any that are “deflated”.
- Make a simple syrup: in a small saucepan combine the water, sugar and ginger syrup. If you do not have ginger syrup, add the minced ginger or the bitters. Cook over low heat, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the stove and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Place the cranberries in a glass mixing bowl, and pour the cooled simple syrup over the cranberries.
- Let set in the refrigerator for 4 hours; stirring occasionally.
- Drain the cranberries in a colander; let sit for 5 minutes.
- Pour about 1/2 cup of sugar on a baking sheet. Scatter the cranberries over the sugar, gently shake the baking sheet to coat the berries. Let dry for 2 hours. I
- f the cranberries have bald spots, I add a dusting of sanding or super fine sugar. (To make your own superfine sugar, in a food processor add 1/2 cup sugar and lightly pulse until super fine. Then sprinkle over the cranberries.) Gently shake the baking sheet to cover the bald spots.
- Set aside for 1 hour. Serve. Enjoy.
All photos styled and taken by Denise Woodward.
Eat Boutique discovers the best small batch foods by boutique food makers. We share recipes, maker stories and city guides to eating boutique. We host tasting events and markets for food makers, cookbook authors and food fans. We craft seasonal, regional gift and tasting boxes and sell individual items that you can order in our new shop.