Visually stunning sugared cranberries are a study in contrast. The tart, dark berries which appear to have been encrusted in tiny jewels, add a magical quality to whatever they adorn as they catch the light. The berries are tamed by an overnight soak in simple syrup, followed by a roll in a batch of sparkling sugar. Sugared cranberries go especially well with savory, soft cheeses. Press a few berries into slices of toasted baguette topped with softened brie for crostini.
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For the sugar bath:
2 cups fresh cranberries
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
1/2 cup sprinkles, such as colored sanding sugar, sparkling sugar and/or nonpareils
1/2 cup superfine sugar*
*Note: If you can't find superfine sugar in the market, pulse granulated sugar in the blender or food processor for a minute.
1 demi-baguette cut into diagonally into 1/2 inch slices, then grilled or toasted.
4 ounces brie
blackberries or other berries (optional)
Stir the granulated sugar into the water and simmer over medium-low heat until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved and the liquid has slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
Rinse the cranberries and place them in a shallow bowl. Pour the simple syrup over the cranberries, cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, drain the berries. Put the sprinkles and superfine sugar into a bowl deep enough to cover the berries. Gently roll the berries in the sugar/sprinkles mixture in small batches, remove with a fork and let dry on a baking sheet.
Pile the berries and brie on top of baguette slices and garnish with additional sprinkles.