I made some chocolate orange cookies recently and the recipe called for candied orange peel. I always enjoy recipes with candied fruit peels so I thought it would be a good idea to get familiar with the process. It’s not hard at all. The most difficult part was cutting the orange peel to a desired thickness. I definitely recommend learning to make this as it also leaves you with some yummy orange simple syrup and leaves the house smelling effortlessly scrumptious!
I referenced directions from Epicurious.com.
I used 2 large oranges for the peels
4 cups of granulated sugar
3 cups of water
I started by cutting the ends off of the orange. I then cut the orange in quarters and separated the peel from the fruit from each of those sections.
The difficult part was to remove as much of the pith from the orange peel as possible. This part is a bit time consuming but I think the flavor and the look of the candy benefits from this process. Cut the pieces into approximate 1/4 inch slices or whatever you prefer.
Next, you want to take these peel pieces and cover them with water. Boil them for about 15 mins. then drain, rinse and drain them again.
Bring 3 cups of water and 3 cups of sugar to a boil. You’ll be dissolving the sugar in this process, so stir the water to make sure you’re incorporating the sugar thoroughly. Once the sugar water has come to a boil, add the orange peels. Return this mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. You’ll leave this simmering for about 45 mins.
I used a straining spoon to remove my peels so that I could leave the orange simple syrup in the pot. I set the pot aside to cool. Once cooled, I put the orange flavored simple syrup into a jar to put in the fridge for later. (You want to make sure this syrup is thoroughly cooled before putting into a glass jar.) I plan to make some ice cubes with the syrup and they can be used in recipes later or dropped into a summer cocktail.
Now put about 1/3 of the remaining cup of sugar into a bowl and begin putting each peel piece into the sugar to cover thoroughly. When that sugar was becoming too moist from the wet pieces of peel, I added an additional amount to continue covering the peels. After they were covered with sugar, I placed them on a parchment covered baking sheet to dry.
Epicurious suggests that you air dry these. This would take a couple of days to thoroughly dry. I didn’t have that sort of time, so I researched drying in the oven. I set the oven to 200o F and placed the cookie sheet of peels into the oven for about 20 mins. That did the trick and it didn’t discolor or ruin the texture. It was definitely an easy solution to speed up this process.
You should be able to keep these precious candies in a dry location for about 2 months. They are a great way of savoring that orange flavor if you can’t readily find oranges in your area past Spring and Summer or a great way to have zero waste and utilize the entire orange.
Stay tuned for more recipes where I use these beauties. They were definitely tasty on their own but they were amazing in an upcoming cookie recipe!
Update: 5/3/21 After speaking with a friend that tried the quick drying method. I realized that after completing covering the pieces with sugar. I moved the tray to my living room near the heater and covered it with a kitchen towel. It sat overnight.
The next day, I put the tray in the oven for 20 mins on 200. This dried it out further and didn’t create soggy or sticky pieces. So, I had done a partial air dry with oven dry method. Hope that helps if you try to make these!