Tart, tangy and a touch sour, fresh cranberries make a great accompaniment both sweet and savoury foods. They’re at their peak of quality and availability between October and December — after that the fresh variety is hard to come by. If you’re a fan of fresh cranberries, grab a few extra packages and freeze them. They’ll last well for up to a year.
For something fun and different this holiday season, I decided to combine the tart cranberry with a sweet hard crack candy and create candied fresh cranberries — a candy apple hack at it’s best! They’re whimsical, tasty and fun to make. Add them to a cookie tray or a cheese platter for a colourful, sweet-tart finish.
Candied Fresh Cranberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup golden syrup (preferably Lyle’s)
- 1 bag fresh cranberries
- ADD the sugar to a small saucepan. Pour in water and syrup without stirring. Place over medium-high heat and cook until the liquid reaches 300-310F on a candy thermometer. While the syrup is heating, push a toothpick three-quarters of the way through the stem-end of each cranberry. Make as many as you like, there will be enough candy for about 40.
- REMOVE the syrup from the heat and let sit for 2 minutes or until the bubbling has subsided. Dip a cranberry into the hot syrup just far enough to cover. Let excess drips fall back into the pot then place upright on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cranberries. Let rest for 10 minutes, or until candy is hard.
Fresh Cranberry Brittle
In a no-fuss kind of mood? Skip the dipping and try some fresh cranberry brittle.
Scatter 1 cup cranberries onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Follow the candy-making directions above. Pour the hot syrup over the cranberries (they will hiss). Scatter a second cup of cranberries onto the brittle while the liquid is still hot, filling in the gaps. Let sit for 20 minutes, or until room temperature and candy is hard. Break into shards.
Originally published December 5th, 2014.