Sugared cranberries: snappy, sparkle, and pop.

Oh! Yes. Hi. It’s been a while hasn’t it? So how have you been? … Mm hmm. … Mm hmm. … Oh really? And you had to have Him/Her/It removed from your home/office/kidney? Well I’m glad you’re coping. I feel a little bad for It/Him/Her, but whaddya gonna do. What about me, you ask? I’ve been fine. I’m still job-hunting and will move to Chicago this month and look for something there. Really looking forward to an exiting life of poverty. I know, join the club, right?

Sorry sorry, I’m still in polite-conversation-with-holiday-guests mode. Thanksgiving wore me out, what with cooking for twelve and preparing two pumpkin cheesecakes on top of worrying about my move. I hereby declare a moratorium on leaky wasteful fussy trauma-filled water baths for cheesecakes. No more water baths. I don’t care if it makes the cheesecake soft and creamy. You know what? I prefer my cheesecakes dense and velvety. NO MORE WATER BAAAAAATHS!

Sugared Cranberries

This post has nothing to do with cheesecake and water baths, but I’m sure that topic and all its associated pain will come up again in the future. Until that joyous occasion, here’s a beautiful snack and appetizer that always goes over well both at Thanksgiving and at Christmas time. Sparkling sugared cranberries make a sensationally pretty addition to your snack tray and is sensationally fun in the mouth. It pops in your mouth and releases an addictive tart sweetness that makes you grab another, and another, and another. Try it. You’ll be hooked. If not, at least you’ll fight urinary tract infections and load up on antioxidants.

SUGARED CRANBERRIES

Adapted from Cooking Light
Makes about three cups cranberries

Ingredients:
· 1 1/2 cups white sugar
· 1 1/2 cups water
· 1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
· 3/4 cup superfine sugar
     OR 3/4 cup regular sugar ground fine in food processor or blender

1) Rinse and drain cranberries. Pick out stems and any soft or mushy cranberries. Have a medium bowl ready nearby.

2) Cook sugar and water in medium pan over low heat. Stir well until sugar is dissolved. Bring liquid to a bare simmer so that bubbles lightly break the surface. DO NOT BOIL. Remove pan from heat. If you accidentally boiled the liquid, let it cool for a few minutes.

3) Add cranberries to pan and stir. If any cranberries split, don’t despair. Pour the cranberries and the liquid into a medium bowl. Place a saucer on top of the cranberries to help keep them submerged. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

4) Put half the superfine sugar on a rimmed tray or shallow pan and break up any lumps. Drain cranberries in a colander (over a bowl, if you’d like to save the liquid for cocktails or to reuse it for the same recipe) and shake them well to remove all the liquid. Dump the cranberries onto the sugar. Shake the tray or pan to coat the cranberries and sprinkle the remaining half of the reserved sugar onto damp berries that need more coverage. Use all the sugar. Carefully separate any cranberries that stick together and let dry for a few hours.

5) Serve immediately or within a few days. The sugar coating becomes more dry and fragile with time, so they’re best early on when they’re at their prettiest.