I love citrus. It's so lovely that citrus season occurs in the cold of winter -- those bright, juicy sunshine-orbs ripening to perfection in the darkest days.
I've featured marmalade and cocktails made from our (six!) citrus trees in past blog posts. In the spirit of thinking ahead to holiday gifts and gatherings, I've fallen in love with candied citrus peel. It's a bit of a process, but the results are worth it! Delicious, flavorful citrus peels last months in a sealed container in the fridge, and they are so pretty. Dipped in bittersweet chocolate puts them over the edge.
We've had some dreary, cold, extremely rainy and windy weather the past couple weeks in the Bay Area, but the past 6 days have been clear and sunny. It was the perfect opportunity to get outside and take some photos of sweet K (and Hercules). We all know I'm a sucker for friends' sweet babies. It's hard to believe this little one has grown so much since I snapped his photo back in March.
'Tis the season for sweeties and sweets... they both get me through the winter!
These candied orange peels take some time, but most of the time is not active (i.e. drying, cooling), so you'll have have lots of time to hang out with friends and cute babies.
You can use any type of citrus -- orange, lemon, grapefruit, lime -- but be sure it's organic.
Candied Citrus Peel
6 - 8 large, thick-skinned oranges or the equivalent of other citrus
5 cups sugar
2 cups water
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (optional)
1. Slice the ends off of the oranges, then cut into quarters (or smaller, depending on how easy it is to separate the flesh from the peel, keeping the peel intact. See the photo at the top. The leftover orange flesh makes great juice or smoothies.
2. Once you have taken the flesh out, scrape the peel gently with a spoon to try to get rid of as much white pith as possible.
3. Slice peels thinly.
4. Place peels in a medium - large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Drain and repeat two more times. This gets rid of the bitterness in the peel.
5. Once drained for the third time, rinse the peels and put them back in the saucepan. Add 3 cups of the sugar and the 2 cups water. Cook over low heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking over low heat for an hour to an hour and a half, stirring frequently. The sugar will be absorbed by the peel as it cooks. Make sure to keep an eye on this process, stirring frequently, or you could end up with scorched sugar and orange peels... which smells and tastes terrible (hmmm, how would I know?)
6. Remove from the heat.
7. Spread the orange peel onto a cooling rack or parchment, separating the pieces. Let the peels cool and dry overnight.
8. Put the remaining 2 cups sugar onto a sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Roll the dried orange peels in the sugar.
9. If you want, you can now dip the peels in melted chocolate. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (or however you like to melt chocolate), then dip a part of each orange peel. Cool on parchment or waxed paper (don't cool on a cooling rack -- the chocolate will stick and get weird indentations -- another lesson learned).
10. Store in a air-tight container in the fridge for a couple months (if they last that long!).
|candied orange peels -- the half on the left have been rolled in sugar.|
Enjoy! Happy Holidays! Sweet tidings!