Sometimes, at the end of Thanksgiving, I still have a spare bag of cranberries, as well as about half the sauce I made for that dinner. I've learned to serve the sauce, thinned and combined with a handful of other ingredients, as a salad dressing, or slathered on biscuits and pancakes, and countless other ways to keep it from going to waste. The fresh cranberries, themselves, could probably be frozen, but this time of year, the freezer is usually pretty full, so I'd rather not try to cram more in.
Therefore, I seek out alternatives.
If you have a cup or two of leftover cranberries from Thanksgiving (or just want to do something lovely with what you have, regardless of whether they're leftovers or not), you can candy them up a bit, and have a nice treat with the sweetness and the tartness playing back and forth across your tongue.
It's not something to have ready in an hour – it takes overnight and a little change.
But it's well worth it.
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup fresh cranberries, washed, sorted (no bruised or shriveled ones), and allowed to dry
1/2 cup extra-fine granulated sugar
In a small saucepan over medium heat, dissolve sugar in water. Bring just barely to simmer – do not boil! (If it does boil, you'll have to wait for it to cool a few minutes before the next step).
In a small container, combine cranberries and sugar-water. Place in refrigerator and allow to chill at least 8 hours or overnight.
After they have cooled over time, pour cranberries and syrup into strainer over bowl. You may wish to save the syrup for some other recipes (it's a nice simple syrup with a faint hint of the berry flavor, good in some drinks).
Meanwhile, lay a sheet of parchment in a large jelly roll pan (sided cookie sheet) and put extra-fine sugar in a bowl. A few at a time, roll the cranberries in the extra-fine sugar, then allow to rest and dry out for at least 1 hour on the parchment.
Nibble on them straight as a snack, or use them to decorate desserts, like a buche de noël.