My husband is from California – where Oranges grow on trees! I remember his 80 year-old grandmother giving me some of her home-made candied peel one Thanksgiving. It was just wonderful and I was so impressed. Last year I bought Mechanic Man some locally made, dark chocolate dipped, candied peel for Christmas – he adored it.
This year, I tried a sample from the same vendor and although the Belgian chocolate was delicious, the orange just wasn’t zingy enough. Remembering Grandma Grace, I thought I’d have a go at the peels myself. I found this great recipe with lovely photos on a blog called bright eyed baker. I used her recipe but scaled it up as I had four oranges.
This quantity makes a dinner plate of peel and filled two jam jars before I dipped some of them in chocolate. You could probably fill four jam jars if they were all choc dipped. I elected to only dip half of each peel in chocolate as I thought they’d look prettier.
- 4 Navel Oranges
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- Wash the oranges and cut the top and bottom off.
- Score into quarters (along lines of longitude) through the skin and pith (orange and white bit).
- Peel off the skin/pith “quarters”. I put the “waste” orange on a plate and left it on the kitchen table – it all disappeared within minutes.
- Cut these quarters into thin strips lengthwise about 1/4 inch or 5 mm wide.
- Place strips in a pan of water and bring to the boil, boil for a few minutes.
- Drain and repeat step 5, TWO times more to reduce bitterness of the pith.
- Add the measured water and sugar to a pan and stir over a low heat to dissolve the sugar.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the peel and simmer gently for another 45 minutes DO NOT STIR. Stirring will cause the sugar to crystallize. You can occasionally rotate the peels gently if you feel they are not all getting equally “candied.” DO NOT let the pan boil dry.
- When the peels are translucent, drain the excess liquid (there won’t be much) and keep this it for another culinary use.
- Place the peels on drying racks and dry in the oven for about an hour at 90C.
- Put the peels in a ziploc bag with a little extra sugar and shake the bag to coat them (they look prettier this way and are less sticky to handle/wrap).
- Store them in an airtight container.
You can dip some peels in melted chocolate to be extra decadent or eat them as they are (very zingy). The photo above is the jar I made for Hubby. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and lay the chocolatey peels to harden on a silicon baking mat.
I plan to use some in my holiday baking, in place of “shop” peel. I also made little cones out of cellophane and gave some to my baking friends as little pre-Christmas gifts. (Sorry Lizzie I made yours before I raided my “bling” box and found the holly and mini bells)!