Happy Holidays! After a good two months in a baking/cooking funk, I’ve decided to pick up blogging again. I might not do it as frequently as before, but I want to keep going because Mr. Foodie and I enjoyed doing it so much and it helps me snap out of my routine which is good for the soul. Over the past couple months, we’ve baked and cooked some awesome new things, but for the most part our efforts have been lackluster at best. I started a new job, so we’ve been adapting to a new schedule. Mr. Foodie is doing a great job picking up the daily cooking slack. We still make our chicken stock and (especially now that it’s winter) tasty soups like the Kale-Sausage or Chicken Noodles ones.
More recently I helped my mom put together a Christmas Eve menu because my future in-laws and some family friends came over to celebrate. She wanted simplicity above all, so I restrained myself for her sake. I made these easy crockpot Swedish meatballs, shrimp cocktail, my standard deviled eggs, tortellini skewers, and this gorgeous spice cake with candied cranberries.
Is there anything better than cranberries? Mr. Foodie and I eat dried ones like candy out of a huge bag in our pantry. I love buying fresh ones in season and freezing them to have throughout the winter. My usual use of them is to make a simple syrup for cocktails – add tequila or vodka and fresh lime juice and you’re all set! This year I decided to candy them to decorate a spice cake. Basically, you make a simple syrup, coat the berries in the syrup off the heat, and spread them out on a wire rack (with paper or in underneath to catch the drippings). After they’ve sat for an hour, roll them in sugar (they will be slightly sticky). You can pop them in a ziplock bag to transport. Mr. Foodie ate the leftovers as snacks – he loves the intense tart taste with the sugar coating. They’re not for everyone as they do retain quite a bit of tartness even after coating in sugar (usually you cook cranberries down to temper the tartness). But on a rich spice cake with cream cheese frosting, they’re delicious. And so pretty!
I wish I had more pictures of the food and the beautiful holiday decorations in my mom’s house, but we were too busy eating, playing, and talking to take many photos. We’ll do better next year!
1 bag of fresh cranberries (12-16 oz)
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup water
Cook the 1/2C sugar and 1/2C water in a sauce pot on the stove until the sugar is dissolved (stir with a wooden spoon). Turn off the heat and add the cranberries, coating thoroughly. Spread to set on a wire rack with something underneath to catch extra sugar. After an hour, roll in extra sugar to get that frosted look. Let rest for another hour or longer.