Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cranberry Candy

I like to experiment on others. With food, ok? Around Christmas, I make candy I've not tried before and give it out to family, friends, and strangers like I knew what it was I was doing. This year I found a recipe called Coated Raisins. It's pretty straightforward--butter, vanilla extract, powdered sugar (enough to make an elephant diabetic), cream cheese (food of the divine), and raisins.

Ugh. Really? Raisins?

Why use something so bland as...dried up, wingless fly carcasses? Raisins are for those too timid to use CRANBERRIES.

Not I. And it turns out that the tartness of the cranberries balances out the super sweet coating. The original recipe claims that it makes 4 dozen candies, and it does if you doll out heaping teaspoonfuls onto the waxed paper. I think that makes the candies too big, with too much sweetness in one serving. So I opted to use a 1.25-inch spring-operated cookie scoop. Doing that yields 100 candies. Just the right size.

Cranberry Candy

Cranberry Candy

2 cups dried cranberries/craisins
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 C butter
6 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Place craisins in a steamer basket or strainer. Place over boiling water, but not touching it.
2. Steam, covered for 5 minutes.
3. Combine cream cheese and butter in heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir over low heat until butter is melted, cheese is soft, and mixture is well combined.
4. Transfer to large bowl of mixer.
5. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until frosting is thick and creamy but not dry.
6. Add vanilla. Stir in craisins gently.
7. Drop by small scoopfuls from a 1 1/4-inch diameter cookie scoop onto waxed paper. (Or scoop small amounts with a teaspoon.) Let dry uncovered, for four hours or overnight in a refrigerator.

From gathering the indredients to sliding the cookie sheets of candies into the fridge, I spent an hour making the candy.

Thanks, everyone, who asked for the recipe and made this year's experiment worthwhile. Merry Christmas!

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