Fall here in NorCal is pretty anticlimactic. Instead of crimson maple leaves drifting in the wind Pocahontas-style as far as the eye can see, waiting to be raked into one giant pile so that I can dive in and emerge giggling, we have the occasional red tree punctuating an increasingly green landscape as the wet, drizzly season begins.
That doesn’t mean we don’t have the fall spirit though. In fact, if anything, I find myself going a little overboard with pumpkins, apples, cinnamon, and cranberries in an effort to compensate for the lack of festivity from the weather. Pumpkin bread, apple pie, snickerdoodles, cranberry sauce–I take my job of eating enough fall foods to last the whole year very seriously. It seems a crime to even think about peaches and lemonade in the “-ber” months.
These cranberries, though, are my absolute favorite way of eating cranberries. The fresh fruit is a completely different animal from its dried and cylindrical jelly counterparts. It doesn’t just suggest a vague sourness then cover it up with a pound of sugar like it’s cousins, it asserts it’s invigorating piquancy with pride. Wrapped in a crunchy sugar shell that complements the sourness rather than tempering it, the cranberries are just perfect. Though I rarely make something more than once because there’s so many things I want to try, I’ve made these three times in the last month and there’s no doubt that if nature allowed it these suckers would be in the (hypothetical) cookie jar year-round. And if that’s not reason enough to make them a regular on your holiday menu, I mean come on. They’re gorgeous!
Note: If your are short on time, I’ve soaked the cranberries for as little as 2 hours. It will just be a little more sour.
2 cups cranberries, washed
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
lots of extra sugar for coating
Place cranberries in a medium bowl or wide-mouthed jar.
Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat just until little bubbles form on the outer rim. Turn heat off and let cool a few minutes so the hot syrup doesn’t cause the cranberries to burs when it is poured on.
Pour the syrup over the cranberries. Refrigerate overnight.
Drain the berries in a sieve. (You can save the simple syrup for your morning coffee or brushing on a cake.) Make sure all the excess syrup drips off, otherwise when you coat them in sugar they will make little clumps.
Toss the cranberries with sugar in a rimmed baking sheet, working in small batches. Leave to dry a few hours before eating.