Sugared Cranberries

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This Winter Worse than Most

by Madelyne Camrud

At night I awaken and listen
to the house creak, its boards sharpening

in the cold. Days we stay inside,
looking out the window,

and wonder at a world so deep
into temperature. A nuthatch

tweaks thistle seed from a feeder
suction-cupped to the pane.

In moments like this spent close to glass,
how understandable my life is,

inside the heavy ribs of my navy sweater.
I watch the small bird rise

and light on a high branch.





Back in the day, when I was finishing up my English degree, I thought to myself: Finally, now I’ll have the time to read the works that I actually want to be reading.

The reality, of course, was that I didn’t want to read a thing.

It was many months later, when I was browsing though a used bookstore in Vietnam, that I found a copy of one of my early favourites, The Lying Days by Nadine Gordimer. The book is rare enough to find back home — it’s Gordimer’s first novel, and neither widely known nor widely sold — and to find it abroad felt like such perfect luck. And, of course, all the old pleasure came rushing back as I started to read again.

I’m in a similar state at the moment, food-wise, which is why this blog’s been quieter of late. I just finished up a tremendous food styling + photography project that had started in June, and in order to finish well ahead of deadline, I was working increasingly long days. I am so, so proud of this project — but in its aftermath, I’m taking a little time away from cooking.

These sugared cranberries, though, were a recent exception. I was making them as a topper for this gingerbread cake, slathered in this cream cheese frosting, and I wanted to garnish the dessert with something festive and elegant. They’re an easy overnight affair (though you can reduce the soaking time to 2 hours in a pinch), and they happen to also make an excellent snack.

Sugared Cranberries

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 8 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 2 cups

This recipe is best begun the night before, but can be done the day-of as well, so long as you have 3 hours before you want to serve the cranberries.


  • 2 cups + 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries


  1. In a small pot on medium-high, heat 2 cups of the sugar with 2 cups of water and stir until the sugar has visibly dissolved. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil; reduce to a simmer for 1 minute, then remove from heat. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. In a large bowl, cover the cranberries with the simple syrup and stir until coated. Cover, and allow to soak for minimum two hours (eight hours/overnight is ideal, though, and will result in a crunchier cranberry).
  3. Once the soaking is done, drain the syrup off the cranberries (and reserve for cocktails! Or discard. Choose your own adventure).
  4. Divide the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar into two shallow bowls. Toss the cranberries in small batches in the first bowl, then again in the second, taking care not to let the sugar get too wet or clumpy.
  5. Set them aside on a baking sheet to dry out for an hour, and voila!

-Even though at first glance, these look like they take a lot of time, almost all of it is hands-off! It's barely 10 minutes of actual cooking.

-These will store for roughly an extra day in the fridge, but are best eaten the day they were made.

-If you have leftovers, you can rinse the excess sugar off, puree the cranberries up in a food processor or blender, and use the paste as a base for tea!

Back soon with more kitchen magic.

Happy Holidays!



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