Guess my hand was shaking a bit while snapping this photo. Or, maybe it’s just the natural sparkling glow of candied orange peel. Yeah, that must be it.
Making candied peel is a perfect weekend task. It takes a bit of work, but the result is worth it. Start with organic oranges, or if those aren’t available, give the oranges a good scrubbing to remove the shiny wax they’re sometimes coated with.
While you bring a big pot of water to boil, slice off a little of the top and bottom of 2 to 3 oranges, and then slice off the peel to the flesh. Cut the peel into 1/4-inch matchsticks. Set up a large bowl of ice water.
Gently boil the peel for a couple of minutes and then remove them with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Do that two more times, blanching a total of three times.
Next, remove them to paper towels to dry, and scrape off most of the pith with a knife.
Pour 3 cups of sugar and 3 cups of water into a wide saucepan and bring just to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stir in the dried orange sticks and cook until the sticks are tender, about 40 minutes. The mixture will reduce and thicken.
If you’re so inclined, you can add a cinnamon stick, a star anise pod or two and/or whole cloves into the sugar water in the beginning to spice up the oranges.
Meanwhile, place another cup of sugar in a large bowl. Set a cooling rack in a sheet pan.
When the orange sticks are gooey-thick, remove with a slotted spoon and dump into the bowl of sugar and toss. Be very careful! The sugar syrup is extremely hot and you don’t want to get any of it on you.
Space the sugared peels on the rack so they don’t touch each other and let them dry for at least a day, maybe two.
Now, what to do with them? Eat them, of course.
Or dip one end in melted dark chocolate.
Or chopped them up and add to muffins or scones.
Or, wrap them in cellophane with a pretty bow and give to a friend.