Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Candied Orange Peel

It's not quite Christmas so I'm squeaking in my entry in Bee's virtual candy exchange. Here's my take on candied citrus peel. I was inspired by Anapestic's amazing orange blossoms. But having neither dry red wine nor 20 cardamom pods on hand, I decided to try my own variant with ginger root and cinnamon. You can come up with your own spicing or just use plain sugar syrup. My husband and I love this stuff, our kids think it's too bitter. I'm going to give some as presents when we're in Austin for the holidays.

The broad outline is: citrus peel is boiled several times to cut its bitterness and make the pith easier to remove. Then it's simmered in syrup, drained, rolled in sugar and dried.

Peel from 8 oranges (score outside of orange with a knife to get large sections of peel, either thirds or quarters)

4 cups sugar
2 cups water
Slice of ginger root, peeled
1 cinnamon stick

Sugar and cinnamon for rolling

Put peels in large pan with water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 min. Drain. Repeat two more times. This can be done over several days, just toss the peels in the refrigerator in between. After the third boil drain and cool the peels. Scrape off the white pith with a spoon. Only get what comes off easily, don't worry about getting it all off, the peels will be too thin and fragile if you scrape it all. Slice peels in long 3/4" strips or whatever pattern you like. Anapestic got fancy with a little flower shaped cookie cutter.

Prepare the syrup by bringing the sugar, water, ginger root and cinnamon stick to a boil. Cook on low boil for 5 to 10 minutes. Add sliced peels, stir to cover, and bring back to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for about an hour. Drain the peels and cool. Keep cinnamon stick for another use, discard ginger root and set the syrup aside in case needed later (see * below). When peels are cool enough to handle, put a cup or so of sugar in a shallow bowl and whisk in a tsp of cinnamon. Roll each piece in cinnamon sugar and place on foil lined cookie sheet.

You can air dry the peels or use the oven. I recommend just leaving the cookie sheets in the oven for a day or two, without turning it on. I dried one batch for several hours at 170 degrees and they got too hard, shattering when you took a bite. *I put those peels in a pan and poured the reserved syrup over them for a day and a half. I drained them again, dredged in cinnamon sugar and air dried. And they turned out perfect.

Happy candy making.


Bee said...

I just got back from the Bahamas this afternoon, so I'm not quite up to candy making (yet) . . . but I will definitely be adding this to my repertoire. Are you still in Austin, I wonder? We saw a Weather Channel report one day and it was the same temperature in central Texas that it was in the Caribbean! We had to laugh.

BTW, I enjoyed reading your Xmas card today. (Blue sweater really wasn't too blue; just a nice powdery blue.) The girls are lovely.

Thanks for introducing me to Anapestic. Isn't it a bit strange that you read two blogs who wrote not once, but twice, about Black Cake this Xmas?

Nimble said...

Welcome home Bee. Texas weather has been variable but SO NICE compared to KS weather. We've had everything from 32 to 76 in the past week. Nod feels the pull of the warm temps.

I hope you all had a good stay in the tropics. My MIL and SIL were plotting for an extended-family summer vacation to Italy or Greece. I can't imagine how we'd swing it, but setting aside those trivial practical objections, I am very interested.