Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Candied Cranberries

Christmas is about a week away and I'm really excited. We're hosting a family party this year and we'll be cooking up a storm. Because we're Korean, typically, when my mom or aunts hosted family parties, they would make a feast of food but it was all "main course" stuff and even if the party was supposed to start at 7, the food wouldn't be ready until 8 and my sister and I would whine about how starving we were. I don't think Korean people understand the concept of appetizers (except for the dried cuttlefish and peanuts that the adult males would eat alongside their brown liquor, a.k.a. "anju").

But, when I host a party, I like to make a few dishes for people to nosh on when they arrive. I was born in America so I am an avid supporter of the appetizer. Make-ahead dishes are always preferable, of course, and it's nice to have a variety. And I think that candied cranberries are a fun and festive snack. They're gorgeous and delicious and really easy.
Ingredients:
1 cup cranberries
1 teaspoon orange zest
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup sugar - white, raw, or brown - for coating
Combine orange zest, orange juice, sugar, honey, cinnamon stick, and vanilla to a saucepan.
Heat over low, stirring constantly, until the syrup comes to a boil.
Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for about 10 minutes.
Pour in the cranberries and return to a low heat. Let the berries warm up until the skins split. You'll hear the berries popping and you'll know they're ready.
Cool the berries and then chill in the fridge overnight.
Drain the berries and then shake them into a pan full of sugar. Just work on a few berries at a time, and then leave them on a platter to dry and set up. By the way, save the syrup for sweetening up cocktails! I have a cocktail recipe to share tomorrow where I make great use of the syrup.
Let the berries dry for about one hour until the sugar sets. Aren't these cute? The sugar coating is crunchy and the berries are sweet and tart. These will keep for about one week (in the fridge).
Here's the recipe page:

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