I always feel this way after the holidays are over. Usually I can hold out until February, but the let down is inevitable. The snow is no longer sparkling and white, instead the yard is just dull patches of brown and gray. The cold that made my cheeks an adorable pink just last month has now taken its toll, causing my lips to chap, my skin to flake, and my hair to dull. The months stretch on, dark and cold, with few distractions (I’m sorry but the Superbowl does NOT count as a distraction). Here in New England we kid ourselves into thinking that come March, we’ll get a reprieve. But in reality it’s not chilly March, or windy April or rainy May that will lift my spirits. For bright little flowers and the smell of cut grass and the first early strawberries, I will have to wait until June.
Which led me to these amazing little candied cranberries. So often it’s the simplest things that are so addictive. I honestly can’t believe that I had any berries left to get a picture of! I can’t stop popping them in my mouth. Crispy sugared outsides give way to a gentle burst as the berry spurts open, revealing its tart and tangy interior. They are ridiculously simple to make, and so beautiful. They would be lovely in a little tin as a gift, or put a bowl of these lovelies on the coffee table the next time you have friends over – they will be gone in seconds!
These cranberries are delicious and fun, but most importantly, they are festive. Which is exactly what I needed this weekend. In addition to obsessively munching on them as I pass through the kitchen, I have also discovered how wonderful they are on homemade waffles. They fit perfectly into the little divots in my waffles, and, along with a handful of walnuts, added the essential crunch and bite to breakfast.
1 cup water
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 cup fresh cranberries
Bring the water and one cup of sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir until the sugar dissolves and then remove from the heat. Let cool 10 minutes and then add the cranberries and cool completely. Transfer the cranberries and sugar-water to an airtight container and let sit at room temperature at least 6 hours or overnight. Spread the remaining sugar on a plate. By the small handful, shake excess liquid from the cranberries and then roll them in the sugar. Place the rolled berries on a baking sheet to dry. Repeat with all the berries and then allow to dry for at least an hour.