Candied Citrus Peels
I’m guessing that anyone who walks into a candy shop has a special weakness, the one particular candy that they just can’t resist. My weakness is dark chocolate covered orange peels. I find them irresistible! Perhaps I kid myself into believing they are a healthier option since they contain a fruit. There must be some Vitamin C in that orange peel, isn’t there?
I have to admit, however, that the candy store price per pound is pretty steep. Considering how easy it is to make candied orange peels at home, why pay the exorbitant price? Candied orange peels are delicious on their own and make a beautiful decoration on a cheesecake. When you dip them in chocolate, they are a perfect little accompaniment to a dinnertime cup of coffee.
You don’t have to limit yourself to orange peels. Any citrus peel can be deliciously candied. Winter is citrus season and there are many different varieties to choose from this time of year. I’ve had great results with grapefruit, tangerines, and kumquats as well as lemons and limes. It’s fun to make a variety of different colors and flavors. The crystalline sparkle of a bowl of multicolored candied citrus peels reminds me of the work of famous glassblower, Dale Chihuly.
You don’t need any special tools to make candied citrus peels, a basic potato peeler or paring knife works okay. But if you want to make the peels a uniform size and pretty shape, a citrus stripper is the best tool to use. This inexpensive tool produces a delicate ribbon of peel which is perfect for garnishing and for making decorative candied citrus peel.
Because you will be eating the peels, it’s best to purchase organic citrus fruit to be certain that you are not eating peels that have been sprayed with pesticides.
CANDIED CITRUS PEELS
1 large navel orange
¾ cup sugar
½ cup water
Wash the fruits to remove any residual dirt. Using a citrus stripper, remove the peel from the fruits. Be careful not to remove any of the bitter white pith under the peel.
Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Blanch the peels in the boiling water for one minute. Drain the peels and rinse under cold water. Repeat the process, blanching the peels for another minute in a fresh pot of boiling water. Drain and rinse under cold water and set aside. The blanching will help remove some of the bitter oils from the peels.
In the small saucepan, dissolve the ¾ cup sugar in the ½ cup water over low heat. Bring to a boil, then add the citrus peels. Reduce to a simmer and cook the citrus peels over low heat for 15 minutes.
Be careful not to burn yourself with the hot sugar water, use tongs to transfer the candied peels to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or non-stick foil. Separate the peels so that they will dry without sticking together. Let the peels air dry for about an hour.
Store the candied citrus peels in a tightly sealed plastic container in the fridge.
Variation: If you’re craving chocolate dipped citrus peels, melt some bittersweet chocolate morsels and use a fork to dip each peel in the chocolate. Let the chocolate covered peels chill on a baking sheet in the refrigerator until the chocolate has hardened and set.