Friday, December 24, 2010

Candied Orange Peels

As I cook more and more I get a little more confident with trying new things. Of course we’ve discussed the issue of cooking fears. When it comes down to it, the likelihood of killing someone with my food is pretty low. Also, the chances of me causing myself serious harm in the kitchen is equally low. Although, some days I feel like I should be wearing my safety goggles in the kitchen.

You may have seen some people already posting their December Daring Bakers Challenge pieces. I’ll be getting mine up tomorrow because it is currently rising on my parents kitchen table. The process involved in making the stolen took a few days.

Two days ago I ventured into making candy, my first time making candies! The Christmas stollen recipe calls for candied citrus peels. I don’t know if you’ve ever had store bought candied peels, but they aren’t terribly good. I think they taste like sugar, nothing citrusy about them. After a little looking around online I determined that the recipes are basically the same. Boil peels, boil sugar, boil peels in sugar. Tada! The flavor of these homemade orange peels is something akin to orange gems.

We decided to use half in the Christmas stollen and dip the other half in dark chocolate. The dark chocolate really balances the citrus and sugar. These were also really easy to make in boyfriends kitchen, because all I needed was a pot.

My mom and I decided they look like chocolate covered french fries

Merry Christmas eve everyone!  (And a merry christmas to my friends in New Zealand, Australia and Korea!)

Candied Orange Peels

3 large navel oranges
4 ½ cups sugar
½ cup water

Cut the tops and bottoms off of the oranges. Score the peel into four quarters and carefully remove from the flesh of the orange. (Naked oranges!) Slice peel into ¼-inch pieces and place in a medium pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Drain water. Repeat boiling and draining two more times. This will remove the bitterness from the pith.

In a medium pot, combine water and sugar. Heat to medium and stir with a whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add the peels and lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook the peels in sugar for about 55-65 minutes. The peels should start to look translucent.

Pour off sugar syrup (you can save it for tea, yum!). Toss peels in granulated sugar and set on either a wire rack or a baking sheet lined with brown paper. Allow the peels to cool and dry for 4-5 hours. Or you can pop them in a 250 degree oven for 5-10 minutes.

You can either eat them as is, or melt some dark chocolate and dip half the peel. Rich, sweet and tangy!

Naked Oranges!
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