I’d been eyeing recipes for these cute little candies for months, especially now that it’s citrus season. My husband’s aunt Bridget, who is an amazing cook, had these candied goodies at Christmas Eve dinner. I improvised a bit with what I had on hand in the house. Below are the two recipes I used for the cranberries, lemon, clementine, blood orange and grapefruit peels. They look so pretty, and taste delicious too!
Candied Orange Peels, adapted from the Food Network website
Yields about 2 cups
- 6 thick-skinned Valencia or navel oranges (or any type of citrus peel)
- 4 1/2 cups sugar, plus extra for rolling
- 1 1/2 cups water
Cut tops and bottoms off of the fruites and score them into quarters, cutting down only into the peel and not into the fruit. Peel the skin and pith of the fruit in large pieces, use the inside of the fruit 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 1 or 2 more times depending up how assertive you want the peels to be. (Test kitchen liked the texture of a 3 time blanch best, it also mellowed the bitterness. But it is a matter of preference.) *Note: I blanched the grapefruit peels 6 times because they were more bitter than the oranges and lemons. Remove the peels from the pan.
Whisk the sugar with 1 1/2 cups 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.) 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.) Roll the peels in sugar and dry on a rack, for 4 to 5 hours. Return to the sugar to store.
Sugared Cranberries, yields 9 1/3 cups servings
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 3/4 cup superfine sugar
Combine granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring mixture until sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer; remove from heat. (Do not boil or the cranberries may pop when added.) Stir in cranberries; pour mixture into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
Drain cranberries in a colander over a bowl, reserving steeping liquid, if desired. Place superfine sugar in a shallow dish. Add the cranberries, rolling to coat with sugar. Spread sugared cranberries in a single layer on a baking sheet; let stand at room temperature 1 hour or until dry.
Note: The steeping liquid clings to the berries and helps the sugar adhere. Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to a week.