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True Love: Sparkling Vodka Cranberry Snacks

By Caitlin Klein in Food on Jan 12, 2012 7:00PM

In the coming weeks, we'll build up to Valentine's Day with "true love" recipes - romantic and sexy foods that you will want to make with (and for) your Valentine.

Sparkling cranberries are blowing up the internet, and for good reason. These little ruby gems are tart, sweet, crunchy, and easy to make. Making these cranberry snacks is a two day process, but a relatively passive one.

Any of the original recipes online are good just as they are, but we can spot an opportunity to add alcohol to a recipe a mile away. So voila, just in time for Valentine’s Day are Chicagoist’s Sparkling Vodka Cranberries. Feed them to each other, lovers.

These cranberries are good on their own, but would also make a delightful topping to ice cream, crème brulee, or a vanilla frosted cupcake.

Chicagoist's Sparkling Vodka Cranberry Snacks
2 cups cranberries
2 cups water
3 cups sugar
1 cup vodka
½ cup sugar
1 large cookie sheet

In a large saucepan, bring water to a simmer. Add 1 cup of sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the second cup of sugar and stir until dissolved. Finally, add the third cup of sugar and stir until dissolved. Keep the water simmering during the addition of each cup of sugar. Hello, simple syrup.

Allow the syrup to cool. Do not add the berries yet! Cranberry skins will break if the syrup is too hot. Once the syrup has cooled, add the cranberries and the vodka. Cover the pan and place in the refrigerator overnight.

You can refrigerate this way for up to three days - we let ours sit for two.

Place the half cup of extra sugar into a small bowl. Strain the cranberries (you may want to retain the liquid - good for making cocktails!). Do not rinse. The cranberries will be coated in a slightly sticky syrup.

Using your fingers, roll each cranberry in the sugar. There are lots of tips online for how to do this, but the method that worked the best for us was to place a single cranberry in the sugar, pick up the bowl, and swirl it around, letting the cranberry roll itself in the sugar. If you minimize your hand-to-cranberry contact, you’ll end up with more uniform surfaces and less clumping.

After rolling each cranberry in sugar, carefully place onto a baking sheet to dry. Allow cranberries to dry for an afternoon (preferred), or at least an hour. The syrup and sugar will become a crunchy, sweet coating on the tart cranberry.