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Recipe

Cranberry Jellies

Yield: about 60

Purply-red, a little tart, and a little sweet, these pretty bite-size candies are a great homemade gift during the holiday season. See our test kitchen tip, below, about working with pectin.

Ingredients

For the jellies

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 10 oz. cranberries, fresh or frozen (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. apple cider; more as needed
  • 2 cups plus 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. powdered pectin, preferably Pomona’s Universal Pectin
  • 1/4 cup honey

For coating the jellies

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. citric acid or vitamin C powder

Preparation

Make the jellies

  • Lightly coat the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch metal pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom and 2 of the sides with one strip of parchment long enough to overhang on the 2 sides. Lightly coat the parchment with nonstick spray.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries with 1/2 cup water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low to maintain a simmer, and cook until the berries are soft, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  • Purée the mixture in a blender until smooth, and then press through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl. The purée should measure 1-1/4 cups. If short, add cider to make up the difference.
  • In a small bowl, whisk 3 Tbs. of the sugar with the pectin.
  • In a medium saucepan, whisk the pectin mixture, purée, cider, honey, and remaining 1-3/4 cups plus 2 Tbs. sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook, whisking constantly, about 10 minutes. Test the jelly by spooning a small amount—about 1/4 tsp.—onto a plate. Cool for about 30 seconds; it should peel off in one piece. If the mixture won’t peel, keep cooking.
  • Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan, and let it sit on a level surface uncovered at room temperature until the candy sets up, at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • Lift the jelly out of the pan using the overhanging parchment. Flip onto a cutting board, and remove the parchment. Cut the jellies into 60 pieces, or use the cutters of your choice, if you like.

Coat the jellies

  • In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar and citric acid. Toss each jelly in the sugar mixture, then serve or store in an airtight container for up to seven days.

Tip

While testing this recipe, the Fine Cooking test kitchen tried  a variety of pectins. We prefer the brand we mention in the recipe, Pomona’s Universal Pectin, because the jellies set up quickly, retained the beautiful red color of the cranberries, and had a wonderful texture and consistency. Be sure not to use the calcium powder in the Pomona package, only the pectin powder. You can find pectin next to the gelatin in supermarkets and citric acid in the baking aisle.

Reviews

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Reviews

  • fstdesk | 02/10/2019

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  • user-3834513 | 12/17/2018

    After 4 failed attempts from other recipes I was thrilled to get perfect results with this one. I tried variations including setting with gelatin. I got a lot of weeping results. However in this recipe I finally got the perfect texture and no weeping. They've been out for two days and, if anything, the texture has improved! I believe that both the Pomona pectin plus the length of time cooking were crucial to this great result. Thanks!

  • pstaubs | 12/12/2018

    I had no problem getting this to work...no calcium. They were beautiful and held up well for 3 days My only issue was the top formed a crust that was a little bit rubbery. Not sure if I did something wrong or not. I would make these again because the flavor was wonderful.

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