Place 1 cup of sugar, the water, vanilla extract, and orange liqueur in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar completely dissolves but do not bring to a boil. This will take only a few minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cranberries. Place something heavy on top to keep the cranberries submerged (be careful not to overflow the pan). I had a round flat bowl that worked perfectly or a small plate should work as well.
Once the mixture has cooled enough, cover with foil or plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 12 hours or overnight to allow the cranberries to soak in all of that delicious syrup.
After soaking, strain the cranberries through a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl. Once fully drained, place the syrup in a sealable bottle or container, place it in the fridge, and save for cocktails!
Put the remaining sugar in a container with a lid (or a small bowl if you don't have one). Gently put the cranberries in the container, put on the lid, and gently shake and turn to fully coat the cranberries with sugar (if your cranberries are in a bowl, use a spoon to carefully mix the cranberries in the sugar to coat).
Place the cranberries on a piece of wax paper to dry for at least an hour. Make sure they are separated so they have room to dry.
Once dry, place the cranberries in a sealable container until you are ready to use or serve. They should last up to a week.