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Saturday, 10 January 2015

Candied Orange or Lemon Peel

These are one of my favorite treats.  They require some planning ahead, as they need to boil for an hour and then dry for 4-5 hours, but if you're able to do this, you'll be in for a real treat!  I made these for my brother's big gluten-free wedding reception and they were an absolute hit!  Once one person tasted them, the word spread and they were gone before I knew it!  I left some plain candied orange peel in a bowl, and dipped some in dark chocolate.  Smaller orange and lemon pieces were used to top chocolate cupcakes and lemon cupcakes, respectively.  Candied orange peel are popular in Europe, enrobed in dark chocolate.  When I last went to Belgium, I think I bought these from three or four different chocolate shops, just to compare. (they were all delicious).  But it's wonderful to be able to make them at home!
Small pieces of candied lemon peel topping lemon cupcakes
A bowl of candied orange peel was placed between the waters at the wedding reception - it was overflowing initially, and down to this by the 'start' of the reception! They were a hit!

Candied Orange or Lemon Peel
Makes ~2-3 cups candied peel
Based off a Food Network Kitchen recipe

Wash and scrub very well and then cut the tops & bottoms off:
6-7 Cara Cara Orange
2 Lemons

Score the fruit (cut thin stripes down the sides with a sharp knife) and carefully peel the skin from the fleshly fruit.  (The fruit can be eaten or juiced - I used the tops/bottoms to zest and and made lemon cupcakes/muffins).

Cut the peel into thing strips, about 1/4" - 1/2" thick.  You can then cut the strips into smaller 1" segments, if you would like smaller pieces of candied peel (like for topping cupcakes, or just for snacking).

Put the peels in a metal pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Drain.  This blanches the peel to help remove bitterness.  Repeat this two times (i.e. cover again with cold water, boil, drain, cover with cold water, boil, drain).

Set drained peels aside.

Whisk together, then bring to a boil over medium heat:
1 1/2 cups water
4 1/2 cups sugar

Using a candy thermometer, let the mixture cook over medium heat until it reaches ~220F.  (You want it to simmer ~10-15 minutes).  You can remove the candy thermometer at this time.

Add the drained orange and lemon peels to the sugar mixture.  Once the mixture is simmering again, you can reduce the heat to low.  Let the peels simmer in the sugar mixture for 45 minutes - 1 hour, until the peels get translucent in appearance.  Using a clean spoon, you can press the top peels down in order to gently "mix" the peels - but don't stir them. (I only pressed the top peels down twice during the entire cooking process).

Drain the peels.  You can save the syrup to use elsewhere, if desired, since it's quite tasty.

Roll drained peels in white granulated sugar.  Place them on a cooling rack to allow them to dry.  They will need to dry about 4-5 hours.

Once they've dried, you can store them with a bit of extra sugar in a tupperware.

They're wonderful dipped in dark chocolate, but equally great all on their own. Enjoy!
Candied orange peel dipped in chocolate on a platter with milk chocolate dipped homemade caramels (topped with transfer sheets).  Mmm..
Small piece of candied orange were used to top mini chocolate cupcakes. 


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