Candied Orange Peels
I made these candied orange peels over the holidays, but there’s no reason to limit these to Christmas. I love a good citrus flavor in wintertime to punch things up. It’s easy to get into a winter flavor rut of heavy, decadent treats. A little citrus really brightens your palette, making for a memorable treat.
Candied Orange peel is one of my favorite candies. There’s no artificial stuff - just oranges! It has bright orange flavor that is unmistakably citrus-y. I don't know why, but I find them quite sophisticated as well. They remind me of very fancy sweets, even though they're not very polished-looking. A few extra steps makes this texture heaven with chewy orange peel, crunchy sugar, and creamy chocolate.
At first glance this recipe looks hard. But after the first time through, you get over the whole boiling sugar danger, and it’s pretty great. The orange peel turns gummy and sweet. A roll in sugar gives the outside a little more sweetness. But oh my god with chocolate. Orange and chocolate is a match made in heaven. I love those chocolate oranges that are sold around the holidays. They are shaped like oranges and you smash them on a tabletop to break them apart into slices. So good, but a little artificial compared to real candied orange peel. The orange flavor of the peels is definitely more intense - in the best way.
If you’ve never boiled sugar before, do not be afraid. Ok, I was totally afraid for the first time and maybe the second time too. Just trust your thermometer and wear an oven mitt. Also, remember that heat proof is not the same as waterproof. Can you tell I’m a little clumsy? Moving on…
There’s really not much fussing to do with these candies. Cutting the peels really has the biggest impact on your final product. Past that, follow directions and you’ll be ok. Dipping the candied peels in chocolate is a matter of taste. Personally, I like to dip as much as possible, leaving a little orange piece about a fingertip-length - maximum chocolate with just enough to pick up the candy without melting chocolate on your fingers.
These are great for a little nibbling candy, not a centerpiece. They are really tasty, but not a lot to look at, unless you bundle up the whole batch. So make them as part of a candy plate or a whole batch as a gift. These are a labor of love after all! Either way, enjoy the zingy citrus orange peel with decadent chocolate!
CANDIED ORANGE PEELS
4 ½ cups of sugar
1 ½ cups water
12oz dark or milk chocolate
- Trim the peel off of the orange by placing the orange on a cutting board and slicing your knife or vegetable peeler down the orange from top to bottom, shaving off the peel.
- Continue trimming until you’ve peeled the entire orange.
- Repeat with all oranges.
- Slice peels into thin strips. (Keep in mind that strips will shrink upon cooking in sugar.)
- Bring a pot of water to boil.
- Blanche orange peel by dropping the peels into the boiling water for one minute.
- Drain pot, saving orange peels in a colander.
- Repeat stpes 4-6, blanching peels up to 3 times to remove bitterness.
- Mix sugar and water into a clean pot and heat to 230 degrees, monitoring with a candy thermometer.
- Add the orange peels to the pot.
- Simmer for 45 minutes or until peels look translucent.
- Remove the orange peels and place on a drying rack to drain and dry.
- After an hour or so to dry, roll in sugar.
- In a bowl over a double boiler, melt chocolate.
- Dip candied peels in melted chocolate.
- Place dipped candies on wax paper, and allow candies to dry completely (preferably overnight to allow the chocolate to cool and harden).