My last post of the year is a recipe that is a favorite recent discovery: Candied Orange Peel. I had to make a batch to go into the stollen I baked for the December Daring Bakers’ Challenge; what I thought would be a chore ended up producing a fantastic treat. I’ve been a lifelong fan of those orange slice candies you can buy in the two-for-a-dollar bags at the grocery store, and candied orange peel tastes very similar. The benefit of taking the time to make your own? You get to skip the corn syrup, preservatives, and artificial colors.
Making candied orange peel takes some time, but most of it is hands off. This would be a perfect project for lounging around during a holiday weekend (like this one!).
Candied Orange Peel
Makes about 1 cup
3 large oranges
2 cups granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
2 cups water
Using a paring knife, cut away the orange peel (top to bottom) in wide strips. Trim any extra-thick pith; leaving some pith on the skin is fine. Cut the peel into 1/4-inch strips.
Place the strips in a large saucepan and cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a boil and then drain the pot, reserving the orange peel. Repeat this process two more times. (It removes the bitterness from the peel and remaining pith.)
Once the strips have been boiled three times, combine the two cups of sugar and two cups of water in the saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Wipe the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming, then add the orange peels to the boiling syrup. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the peels for an hour. By the end of this time they should be very limp and start to look translucent. Remove the pan from the heat and let the strips cool in the syrup. (I’ve skipped this step in a rush before and still got a good result.)
Preheat the oven to its lowest setting (170°F at my house).
Take the peels from the syrup and place them on a wire cooling rack set over a baking sheet. Let them drip and dry for about 30 minutes, then roll them in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of granulated sugar. Place them back on the wire cooling rack and put them in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven and cool to room temperature before serving or dipping in chocolate.
Candied peel will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Adapted from Candied Citrus Peel by Elizabeth LaBau
I made the candied orange peel in the photo for my family on Christmas Day, and boy did it go over well. It’s so yummy! The peel is sweet, orange-y, and chewy; I love the crunchiness of the sugar coating as well. I thought the chocolate pieces would be gone long before the plain ones, but people ate them pretty equally. I can’t decide which way I like it best, which is a perfect excuse to make both types, right?
Like the stollen, this is another recipe I plan to make year after year. Hope the holiday season has been wonderful for each of you, and Happy New Year!