Need a quick, pretty holiday snack idea or something to add to the cheese plate this year?I've been eying these sparkling cranberries ever since I saw them on Heidi Swanson's blog a few years back, and can't quite believe I'm finally getting around to making them. I loved them so much that I couldn't wait to share them with you. The gist of this recipe is that it's hardly a recipe at all (good news for busy holiday cooks!). They do need to soak overnight, but other than that, these shimmery beauties just need a tumble or two in sugar and time to dry. Do know that because they're not technically cooked or softened, you must really enjoy the taste of cranberries to get behind these: essentially they're just pretty-ed up, sugared berries. That being said, the hot simple syrup and overnight soak does take the edge off so they don't feel like you're popping too-tart cranberries.
Heidi recommends they should be a part of every holiday spread, and discusses how they "effortlessly make the transition from savory course to sweet ... for example, I've become fond of serving them as part of a cheese spread, but I imagine they'd be nice as the finishing touch on on a tart or clustered atop a crème brûlée or pudding of some sort."
Personally, I've fallen in love with them as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea and have recently started saving a few for the top of a bit of vanilla ice cream in the evening. Heidi's blog is one of my all-time favorites and has been for many years; simple holiday recipes/ideas like these confirm her thoughtfulness yet again. Enjoy.
Megan is a freelance writer and recipe developer. Her cookbook, Whole-Grain Mornings, will be available in bookstores nationwide Dec/2013. Megan also owns the Seattle-based artisan cereal company, Marge Granola.
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