This might be my favorite food gift so far. First off, the end result is delicious. It's a pure sugar sweetness with the pop of orange underneath it. I've been thinking of all the ways I could use the candies (top of my list? Garnishing cupcakes.). My husband has been stealing one every time he walks by them, and the kids are requesting them as dessert. That's a win in my book!
The other reason, though, is how easy they were to make, and how much fun the boys and I had making them together. It's been tough to find recipes that all three of us can make. My oldest and I used to cook pretty much everything together when he was an only child. There are some things going on with my youngest that make taking turns and sharing really difficult and so for a really long time I haven't been able to do much with them in the kitchen at the same time. We're finally making some breakthroughs, and I'm slowly figuring out tricks that work for us so we get to cook together again.
I did the prep work by myself-the removal of the peels and pith and boiling to remove the bitterness. We all got to pour the simple syrup ingredients in the pan, and once it had simmered and then cooled the boys had a blast rolling the peels in the sugar and putting them on drying rack. They loved checking it every few hours to see if it had hardened yet, and my oldest in particular got a kick out of the science aspect.
This process will work with any sort of citrus-lemon, grapefruit, even a combination. You also get a nice jar of citrus simple syrup as a side product! I'm brainstorming yummy ways to use mine as we speak.
Since illustrations really help this recipe, I'm going to go through step by step, with the traditional instructions at the bottom. Oh and some cute pictures of my helpers thrown in for good measure!
First you need to remove the peel from the oranges. A nice sharp knife is essential for this.
The next step is incredibly tedious. Remove all the pith from the peels...but don't stress if you can't get it all.
Now you're ready to boil the peels. Twice. Then you add the simple syrup ingredients in, bring to a boil under all the sugar is dissolved and then simmer the peels until they become a little translucent. Once you finish this part you're ready for the fun stuff!
Pour some sugar in a bowl and roll each peel around until it's covered. Lay them on a cooling rack with some parchment paper below to catch the sticky drips. They will need to dry like this for about a day until they harden.
Candied Orange Peel
adapted from Shutterbean
4 cups sugar (plus 1/2 cup to 1 cup to roll the peel in)
4 cups water
Using a sharp knife, gently slice from the top to bottom of an orange-only cutting through the peel itself. Trim the pith off the peel. Discard the pith and cut the peel into 1/4 inch slices.
Put the peel in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Strain peel out and dump water. Place the peel back into the pan and repeat the process.
Add 4 cups sugar and 4 cups water to the saucepan and bring to a boil until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the peels in and simmer for 45 min to an hour. Peel will be translucent.
Take peel out of the syrup and roll each piece in sugar until completely coated. Let dry on a cooling rack over a baking sheet lined in parchment paper for 1-2 days until hardened. Pour simple syrup into a jar for future use.