There is no snow; the weather is making it difficult to imagine that Christmas is next week. I have no decorations, (thanks mice) and no tree. It seems this holiday will pass in a very weird way. For the first time in many years I have my girls here and there is love and family; an odd juxtaposition to past years of flagrantly over decorating and no one to share with.
The one tradition I have upheld is my Sparking Cranberries. I tell myself, and anyone who will stand still long enough and listen, that eating these nuggets will ward off colds for the rest of the season. I am pleased when not one, but several, customers have requested them this year. Others who are new to my treat, painstakingly write out the recipe. Simple gifts…
2 cups of water
2 cups of grainy brown sugar (Sugar in the Raw if you can find it)
2 cups of fresh cranberries.
Bring the water to a boil and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Pour the syrup into a glass bowl and allow it to cool. If it is too hot the cranberries will burst.
Put the clean cranberries in the sugar syrup and refrigerate for 24 hours turning with a slotted spoon every few hours, or when you just happen to open the fridge.
Here’s the part that has taken me years to perfect. You want to coast the sticky berries but not waste a lot of sugar and have a gloppy mess. I set up two bowls, one with large grain sugar and one with regular white sugar. I have two slotted spoons ready.
Drain the cranberries. I reserve the sugar syrup for the next batch, trust me, you WILL want more.
In small batches, one or maybe two slotted spoonfuls, transfer the berries to the first bowl of large grain sugar. Coat them liberally by shaking and carefully stirring.
Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet, shaking occasionally. Allow to dry for about 30 minutes, while you wander off on some other chore.
Transfer to the second bowl of white, smaller grained sugar. Repeat coating process, and spread once again on the cookie sheet.
I find they only get better from being out in the open. If you plan on gifting them, I suggest waiting until the last-minute to close them up in a jar or whatever.