Every year around this time, I host a holiday cookie exchange. It was one of those things that kind of started on a lark, but then the next year people asked if I was going to host it again, so I did, and then the same thing happened the following year.
One year, I was too busy to do it and actually got phone calls asking if people had missed the evite and/or was everything okay?
It’s all rather gratifying to feel so appreciated.
Then again, you’d have to be a real Scrooge not to appreciate the event. I put all the leaves in my dining table, which groans under the weight of all the cookies. I like to bake, it’s true, but so do many of my friends. There’s not a Toll House in the bunch, and nobody has ever shamed themselves by showing up with a plastic box from Safeway.
Last year, I needed some candied orange peel for some recipe I planned to make – I don’t remember what – and I priced it out at Whole Foods (I know, I know). They wanted an egregious sum of money for orange peel, sugar, and water. But to give them the benefit of the doubt, it does take a bit of time to make candied peel – so that must be what we’re paying them for.
I’ll ignore the fact that the time is mostly spent letting them dry out. It’s the holidays, and I’m feeling generous. Tis the season and all that.
So I made the candied peel and it all disappeared from the cookie exchange table. Every last bit of it.
This year, I sent out my party invite and received several RSVP’s that inquired: Are you making that candied orange peel again?
Well, if something so simple makes my friends happy, then of course.
The recipe below works equally well with grapefruit peel. Probably lemon peel, too, but not with the lemons I bought – their peels were borderline intransigent. And one final note: when you finish cooking the peel in the sugar syrup, don’t throw out the syrup! You can store it and use it for Italian sodas and other things. It has a marvelous, intense orange flavor.
- 3 large oranges
- 4 cups sugar, divided
- 3 cups water
- Cut top and bottom off each orange, then cut peel on each orange into 4 vertical segments. Remove each segment (including white pith) in 1 piece. Cut into ¼-inch-wide strips. Cook in large pot of boiling water 15 minutes; drain, rinse, and drain again.
- Bring 3 cups sugar and 3 cups water to boil in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add peel. Return to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until peel is very soft, about 45 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove peel from pot; reserve the syrup for another use.
- Toss peel and 1 cup sugar on rimmed baking sheet, separating strips. Lift peel from sugar; transfer to racks. Let stand until coating is dry, 1 to 2 days.
This is my contribution to Weekend Cooking, hosted by Beth Fish Reads. Why not swing by and see what other sweet surprises await?
Toby @ Plate Fodder says
sweet! (pun intended)
I’ve found that Buddha Hands work exceptionally well when I need that lemony flavor (but to be kitchen-y accurate, candied buddha hand is just called citron)..
I must have missed my evite 🙂
Ha! Send me your address and I’ll send you some cookies.
Beth F says
I love candied citrus peel but never thought to make my own. How simple! I’d use the syrup over pound cake and fruit.
I have a recipe for Angel Cake with fruit in a sugar syrup sauce (I’m pretty sure it involved brandy or the like). I think that will work well – thanks! I love this idea.
Joy Weese Moll (@joyweesemoll) says
I’ve done something similar with ginger and used the resulting syrup in salad dressings: http://www.joyweesemoll.com/2012/03/03/two-ginger-salad-dressings/
I’m definitely going to try this — pinned it! I think I could make a good Christmasy salad dressing with orange syrup. My starting point would be fresh rosemary softened on the stove in extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, some dijon, and orange syrup.
OK, that sounds crazy delicious and I am going to try it. I have all this syrup now and my diet starts in January (don’t they always?) … so salad dressings will definitely be high on my list! Thank you – love this idea.
Diane (bookchickdi) says
I wish I had been at your cookie exchange!
Me too! It’s so fun to sample everyone’s holiday cooking.
Looks great. Have a super weekend.
Janel Gradowski says
There is a chocolatier near our cabin that dips candied orange peel in chocolate. The dark chocolate variety is my favorite.
I love peel dipped in chocolate too!
I have had making homemade candied orange (or other citrus) peel on my list for YEARS now! You’ve inspired me. I am doing it this year no matter what!!!! Maybe dipping one end in some melted chocolate..
You didn’t have to scrape off any of the white pith?
I’ve made this several times and never scraped off the pith. I know other recipes call for it done that way but I honestly don’t see the difference after it’s boiled in the sugar syrup for so long. It’s very sweet and orange-y.
Rebecca @ The Key to the Gate says
I have never made candied organge peel but it looks delicious. I love the idea of your annual cookie party!
Rebecca @ The Key to the Gate
Oh. My. Goodness. This looks delicious, and I sometimes (edit: regularly) eat orange peel raw anyway, so I know I’ll like the candied version. YUM! Thanks for sharing your recipe!
i’ve not tried making this, but it looks so easy. I also thought that you were supposed to remove the white pith. Thanks for sharing this. I do like the idea of dipping it in dark chocolate.
It’s very easy and the chocolate idea is a good one. I made it this year in part because I have a vegan friend coming so I wasn’t sure if she could eat the chocolate (and didn’t have time to research). Would love to know how it comes out!
I didn’t realize how simple these were to make. Thanks so much for sharing.
Kimberly (Reflections of a Book Addict) says
These look delicious.
Your candied orange peel looks lush. I think next time I make it, I will also leave the white bits on. Whatever syrup was left, I was adding to my tea, and it was lovely. Thank you for visiting my blog.