Oh my gosh! I can’t believe the holidays are here and that means parties galore. Whether you’re hosting a party or need to bring something to one, why not give this recipe a try? These Brie Bites with Sugared Cranberries will make a stunning addition to any holiday table and is a wonderful accompaniment to the festive cocktails of the season. It’s made with rich and creamy Brie cheese and topped with sugar-frosted cranberries. They make a simple, yet elegant appetizer. It’s actually quite easy to make, but it requires some planning as the fresh cranberries are best when soaked in simple syrup overnight.
The sugared cranberries are my absolute favorite part of this dish. They’re like little jewels, full of sparkle and glitter! Not only are they pretty, they taste delicious, too. The tartness of the fresh cranberries is perfectly tempered by the sweetness of the orange-flavored simple syrup and slightly crunchy sugar-coating. They taste just like candy, reminiscent of the sweet-tart Sour Patch candies! To serve, simply put them in a fancy bowl to create a beautiful and edible centerpiece. They also make gorgeous topping for chocolate cake or cheesecake and they pair wonderfully with all kinds of cheese.
For a little extra flavor and pizzazz, add a dollop of Cranberry-Orange Relish and garnish with mint leaves for that holiday touch. I guarantee these appetizers will be a hit!
Brie Bites with Sugared Cranberries
Yields 24 appetizers
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
3 2-inch by 1-inch strips of orange zest
8 ounces fresh cranberries
1 cup granulated sugar, or a mixture of 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup Baker’s or superfine sugar, adding more sugar, if needed*
24 thin slices of Brie cheese (about 6 ounces)
24 crackers of your choice (I used wheat crackers)
4 tablespoons cranberry sauce (I used Trader Joe’s Cranberry-Orange Relish)
Mint leaves, for garnish
*Note: I found that the mixture of granulated and superfine sugar coated the cranberries very well. The superfine sugar filled in between the gaps created by the larger granules of the granulated sugar. (Yes, I admit to being quite the perfectionist on this. Granulated sugar alone will work just fine!)
Make simple syrup by bringing 1 cup granulated sugar, water, and orange zest to a boil in a small saucepan. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. (Be sure to cool simple syrup slightly because if it’s too hot, the cranberries might pop.)
Pour syrup over the cranberries and weigh down with a plate, if needed, to keep cranberries submerged in the syrup. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours, or preferably, overnight.
Once cranberries are chilled, drain the cranberries in a colander, reserving the simple syrup for another use (like in a Cranberry Mojito, perhaps?).
Place remaining cup of sugar in a medium bowl. Use a spoon to gently roll the cranberries in the sugar until well coated. Work in small batches to prevent sugar from getting too moist. Add more sugar, if necessary. Place sugared cranberries on a baking sheet to dry for at least 1 hour.
To assemble appetizers, place crackers on a serving platter. Add a slice of Brie cheese on each cracker. Spread a ½ teaspoon of cranberry relish on top. Garnish with sugared cranberries and a sprig of mint.
Adapted from Annie’s Eats.
Special thanks to my friend, Patti, who introduced me to these little beauties!
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