Aren’t these fun? This is pretty much edible Christmas right here, people. Red. Green. It even sparkles.
I took these little beauties to my book club Christmas party tonight, and my friends kept asking me what was on top. I’m thinking, what, like, the sugar? Do they think it’s salt or something? But it was after we had all eaten so I knew they must have been asking about the cranberries themselves. I guess it seemed obvious to me because I made them.
It’s true that you don’t see fresh cranberries served that often. In fact, I don’t think I’d ever eaten a whole raw cranberry before today. We are obsessed with crushing them and blending them and baking them. But after tasting these sugared cranberries, I don’t know why. Eric and Charlotte and I were popping them like candy.
I didn’t bother giving Charlotte a fully assembled cracker, but maybe I should have; she has proved to be very enthusiastic about all the ingredients in this recipe, not just the sugared cranberries. I went to the store to pick up the Brie, and I handed it to Charlotte for safekeeping as we made out way to the checkout. She kept yelling “Cheese! Cheese!”
But I didn’t realize just how excited she was until I reached for the Brie to hand it to the cashier and saw that Charlotte had already taken a huge bite out of the end, plastic and all. I guess she knows a good thing when she sees it.
Sparkling Cranberry Brie Bites
- 2 cups cranberries, fresh*
- 1 cup maple syrup, good quality - ahem...the 99 cent generic brand works too.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 16 crackers, I used water crackers
- 8 ounces Brie cheese, sliced
- cranberry chutney , or cranberry relish**
- fresh mint, optional, for garnish
- Rinse cranberries in a colander, discarding any that have become soft. In a medium bowl, heat syrup in the microwave just until warm. (I think mine took 30-45 seconds.) If it is too hot, wait a few minutes--you don't want your cranberries to pop. Add cranberries to the syrup. Cool, cover, and let soak in the refrigerator overnight.
- Drain cranberries in a colander; do not rinse. Place sugar in a large bowl or baking sheet. Add cranberries in 2 batches and roll around until lightly coated in sugar. Place on a baking sheet until dry, about 1 hour.
- Assemble crackers with one slice of brie, a light layer of cranberry chutney, and 4 or 5 sugared cranberries. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs.
- Serve immediately. The wetness from the cranberry sauce will start to creep up on the sugared cranberries, making them not so sparkly, so these are best assembled last minute.