Make Festive Sugared Cranberries With Just 2 Ingredients

Cranberries, first and foremost, are defined by their tartness — but, under the surface, there's some sweetness there as well. However, with just two additional ingredients, the tangy red fruits can be transformed into a sweet treat that is certainly saccharine enough to be qualified as a dessert. All you need is maple syrup and granulated sugar.

Some recipes use water instead of maple syrup — which you can certainly do, especially in a pinch — but the earthiness of pure maple syrup makes the flavor of your sugared cranberries much more nuanced and complex. Either way, making the sugared cranberries couldn't be easier, although it does require some time. 

Start by heating up the maple syrup in a saucepan on medium-low for a couple of minutes, then add in the cranberries. Next, cover the pan and stick it in the fridge to chill for at least eight hours, or overnight. Then, drain the cranberries and roll them in a bowl of granulated sugar. Finally, lay the sugared cranberries out on a baking sheet and let them sit at room temperature for a few hours, or until they've completely dried. And that's it!

How to use your sugared cranberries

The sparkling sugared cranberries look so pretty that you may have the impulse to use them to decorate a cake — which is a great idea. Whether you want to stick with the theme and use them to top some sort of cranberry cake or you want to add a burst of unexpected flavor to a classic recipe, such as a vanilla or chocolate cake, the sugared cranberries will work beautifully. Similarly, they work well atop other desserts — in fact, they're already part of Tasting Table's recipes for chocolate cranberry curd tart and winter white chocolate cranberry tart. You could also whip up a batch of extra fluffy cranberry cinnamon rolls and squeeze one sugared cranberry into the middle of each for an exciting surprise. 

Another idea is to add the sugared cranberries to cocktails for decoration and added sweetness. How about adding one or two to a morning mimosa to bring even more brightness to the drink? You could even up the ante on the cranberry flavor by including a splash of cranberry juice with the orange juice before topping it off with a sugared cranberry. There are also plenty of cocktails that are already cranberry-flavored that would benefit from a sugared cranberry garnish, such as a cranberry orange crush cocktail or a cranberry gin cocktail. Or, if you're in the mood for something simple, the sugared cranberries make for a delicious after-dinner treat all on their own — or served with a dollop of whipped cream.