I have a thing for this time of year – starting this week and sweeping all the way through to the end of December. All of its sparkly, wondrous, glittering, cozy magic. If I had my druthers, I would lay for hours beneath a Christmas tree, inhaling its piney aroma, listening to old Christmas records, and sipping champagne (or tea, or mulled cider.) Having these little moments to myself takes the edge off the craziness of this time of year, and I guard them fiercely. My goal this December, as every year, is to not let the frustrating parts of the month get the better of the best parts of the month. It takes a little dedication to do that. Keeping afloat and keeping calm doesn’t just happen by itself. So I grab on to little things that remind me throughout the day. Receiving Nicole’s wonderful newsletter this morning is exactly the kind of thing I’m holding on to. I hope you do too.
And these sparkling cranberries are everything that is good and wonderful about this time of year. They’re gorgeous as a decorative element and even better because they’re edible. You get a wash of sweetness followed by an intense, puckery, tart burst. It’s a stellar combination. Set them out on the table or skewer them on a fancy toothpick to float over your favorite cocktail.
adapted from 101 Cookbooks
2 cups cane or granulated sugar, plus more for finishing the cranberries
3 cups cranberries
1 teaspoon cardamom
In a saucepan, combine the sugar and cardamom with two cups water. Bring to a low simmer until just dissolved to make a simple syrup. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cranberries and simple syrup. Refrigerate overnight. (Or, prepare in the morning and toss at night.)
The next day, pour a small quantity of sugar into a bowl. Toss a small handful of cranberries into a bowl, and gently shake the bowl to evenly distribute the cranberries.
Carefully lift the cranberries out at their tips, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet to dry. They will need a few hours to completely dry. And they’re delicate! So treat them gently.