candied orange peel and orangettes

As promised, a recipe for candied orange peel to go along with that pumpkin layer cake.

If you’re a citrus person, you will love candied orange peel. It’s the grown-up version of Orange Slices, the orange-shaped gummies that you find at gas stations and the candy aisle of Walgreen’s. Real candied orange is a little less sugary and just a touch bitter with a pure orange flavor.

In my opinion, homemade candied orange is far superior to what you’ll find in most stores. And it’s easy to make with the help of a candy thermometer. And a little bit of patience.

Speaking of candy thermometers, I’ve graduated to the world of digital candy thermometers. I broke two glass thermometers this past year, so I figured I would go digital. I chose this one based on its ability to read a broad range of temperatures, which makes it perfect for tempering chocolate, deep frying, and candy making.

I absolutely loved the candied orange on the pumpkin layer cake, but I think it would also be a really lovely served with a chocolate cake, or maybe even a custard or pudding. It adds a nice contrasting texture and citrusy brightness. And the sugar coated orange is very pretty when sliced thin. You might also consider dipping them in melted dark chocolate for orangettes. Totally addictive. And the perfect late afternoon pick-me-up or after dinner treat.

candied orange peel

adapted from foodnetwork.com

makes about 1/2 cup peels

2 thick skinned Valencia or navel oranges

2-1/4 cups sugar + 1/2 cup for rolling

3/4 cup water

Cut tops and bottoms off of the orange and score the orange into quarters, cutting down only into the peel and not into the fruit. Peel the skin and pith of the orange in large pieces, use the orange for another recipe. Cut the peel into strips about 1/4-inch wide. Put the orange peel in a large saucepan with cold water to cover, bring to a boil over high heat. Then pour off the water. Repeat 2 more times. Remove the orange peels from the pan.

Whisk the sugar with 3/4 cup water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 8 to 9 minutes. If using a candy thermometer, it will be at the soft thread stage, 230-234° F. Add the peels and simmer gently, reducing heat to retain a simmer. Cook until the peels get translucent, about 45 minutes. Resist the urge to stir the peels or you may introduce sugar crystals into the syrup. If necessary, swirl the pan to move the peels around. Remove peels from syrup and transfer to a plate of sugar (save the syrup for ice tea). Roll the peels in sugar and dry on a rack for 2-4 hours. Return to the sugar to store.

orangettes

1/2 cup candied orange peels

4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped ( I like 70%)

Prepare a parchment lined baking sheet and set aside.

Place 2/3 of the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Place over a pan of simmering water and stir often, making sure not to let any steam or moisture come in contact with the chocolate. Continue until chocolate is completely melted and has reached a temperature of 110-120°F. Remove from heat and add the reserved chocolate and stir until it cools to 90°F.

Dip candied orange 2/3 into melted chocolate and let the excess drip back into the bowl. Place the dipped peel on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining peels. Leave dipped peels on the lined baking sheet until the chocolate has set. Carefully remove the peels from the parchment and transfer to an airtight container.