For the Holiday Layer Bars, I needed Candied Orange Peel. Can you buy that? I have no idea. I looked for it at my local grocery store with no luck, but came prepared with an ingredient list to make it myself. It’s pretty easy, but does take a bit of time. The result? Way better than I imagined! I kept sneaking strips of them and popping them into my mouth like…well, candy. I’m not sure who came up with candying peel, but it’s a great way to inject mega orange flavor into just about anything and you don’t waste that part of the orange!
How to Candy Orange Peel
Start by cutting the tops and bottoms off of your oranges.
Next, cut the skin away using a knife. I start at the top and cut down to the bottom in a sawing motion. I can control how much pith comes off better this way. Alternatively, you can score the orange into quarters and peel the skin off in larger pieces. Save the orange for another recipe. (Cut the orange into segments and freeze for my Cranberry Orange Smoothie!)
Next, cut the peel into strips about 1/4-inch wide.
Put the orange peel into a saucepan with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Then pour off the water. Repeat this process two more times. Why? It softens the peel and takes away the bitterness. Remove the peel from the saucepan.
Whisk the sugar and water in the saucepan. I just used a wooden spoon. (I live on the edge!)
Bring to a simmer and cook for 8 to 9 minutes.
Add the peels and simmer gently, reducing the heat to retain the simmer. Cook until the peels become translucent, which is about 45 minutes. Don’t stir! Instead swirl the pan to move the peels around.
This is how they look at the halfway point. Getting there!
This is how they look after 45 minutes. Bubbles everywhere!
Drain the peels, but save the syrup. You’ve now got an orange simple syrup that would be great in iced tea or cocktails!
Use tongs to move the peels to a bowl of sugar, working in batches. Careful, they’re hot! Roll the peels in sugar. You can use your hands once they are cool enough to touch.
Dry peels on a wire rack for a few hours. I placed my wire rack in a pan lined with parchment paper so I could save the excess sugar for storing. The directions have 4 to 5 hours listed, but I found they were good to go in about 2 hours. Store in an airtight container with the leftover sugar.
Yield: about 1 cup peel
Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 13 min
Total Time: 5 hr 38 min
How to Candy Orange Peel
3 thick-skinned navel oranges
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar, plus 3/4 cup for rolling/storing
3/4 cup water
1. Cut tops and bottoms off of the oranges 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 orange into segments and freeze for my Cranberry Orange Smoothie!) Alternatively, use a knife to cut the skin away from the orange instead of scoring and peeling. This is the method I used.
2. 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.
3. Whisk the sugar with the water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 8 to 9 minutes (If you took the sugar's temperature with a candy thermometer it would be at the soft thread stage, 230 to 234 degrees F.)
4. 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. Drain the peels, (save the syrup for ice tea or a cocktail).
5. Using tongs (peels are hot!), roll the peels in sugar and dry on a rack, for 4 to 5 hours. Store in an airtight container with leftover sugar from rolling.