Holiday Sweets 101: Vanilla Sugared Cranberries

Tis the season for all things pumpkin AND cranberry!  I’m a HUGE fan of pumpkin. Like all things pumpkin. But I’m NOT a big fan of cranberries…bleh!  It’s a fruit y’all. You know how I feel about fruit…especially the tart, tangy, pucker up kind of fruit!  BUT…Oh my gracious!! Y’all I just can’t with these frosty and sparkly beauties! This sweet and tart treat is perfect for a holiday snack or topping off your festive desserts at Thanksgiving and Christmas!  They are almost too pretty to eat!

I’m sure…NO I’m positive you’ll see them show up several times on my holiday table during this joyful time of year!


There are actually a few ways to make these merry little berries. Either soak the berries in sweet liquid goodness, I mean simple syrup, for a few minutes, hours or even overnight. I chose the overnight method because I LOVE a thicker, sugary-er coating on the outside!!  I’m all about BIG SWEETNESS!


So this recipe…although the SIMPEST recipe on the face of the earth will span across two…TWO posts.  Can you handle it??? Hope I can!


You start by making an easy vanilla simple syrup with sugar, water and, well…vanilla. Simple syrup is “simply” made by dissolving equal amounts of water and sugar.  Once the sugar is completely dissolved and the syrup starts to simmer; turn off the burner and cool it for a few minutes.


You want the syrup warm not too hot when you pour it over the cranberries otherwise they’ll pop open.  We want whole berries here people!!  Cover and refrigerate overnight…unless of course you’re going the quicker route.


So now…we wait.  Tomorrow we’ll dry ‘em & roll ‘em!  Oh and….EAT ‘EM!

Oh and by the way y’all vanilla is not the only flavoring you can spike this simple syrup with.   I mean these sparkly gems can be made with just the sugar and water and they’d still be lovely but what about some citrus like orange & lemon, mint or even make them a little boozy with some Crown Royal…oh or even some fancy bubbly…ooo la la!  I merely chose vanilla because I thought the mild sweetness could be paired with so many different desserts and cocktails!


12 oz bag fresh cranberries

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

1 tbsp vanilla

**sugar for rolling (about 1 cup)

  • Wash cranberries and discard any damaged or soft ones. Place in bowl.
  • Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and heat to a simmer.
  • Once sugar is dissolved, turn off heat and cool to warm.
  • Pour syrup over cranberries, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Using a slotted spoon remove cranberries from syrup.
  • Dry them for an hour on a wire rack over a sheet pan to catch the drips.
  • Roll the cranberries in sugar. Set on a sheet pan and let dry.

Until tomorrow!!


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