After completing this recipe though for Candied Orange Peels Dipped in Chocolate, I’m not so sure blue velvet (which is technically a chocolate cake) would be so bad with an orange-flavored frosting. What do you think?
I wanted to do something with the orange before it went bad and somehow decided on this recipe for Candied Orange Peels from Use Real Butter.
The recipe seemed so fool-proof and simple, that I just had to try it (and mess it up!).
To remove the peel from the pulp, I cut off the top and bottom of the orange before cutting it into wedges then sort of scraping the pulp from the rind with a knife.
The peels then get sliced into 1/4 inch or 1/8 inch slices.
The slices are blanched (tossed in a pot of water brought quickly to a boil and than tossed into cold water) three times, which apparently kills the bitterness that gets left in the white part between the rind and the pulp.
The last step to candying the peels involves simmering them in a simple syrup (2-3 parts sugar dissolved in 1 part water) on very low heat for at least 30 minutes or until they turn translucent. This is supposed to be the fool-proof part, but this fool messed it up anyway.
After about 10 minutes, my simmering sugar water became a carmel-colored, burning-scented, goopy mess.
The orange peels got tossed and the carmel mess scraped out of the pot after several soak cycles, but left a few pieces of this cool pulled-sugar thing.
Disconcerted but not discouraged, I found another half an orange peel (left over by forgetting to add with to the first batch) and sliced up some lemon peel to start again. For the next 30 minutes, I kept the flame as low as it would possibly go and watched the pot like a hawk to make sure it wouldn't get a chance to caramelize.
Attempt number two yielded sweet, colorful, and perfectly chewy candy peels.
Recipe (from Use Real Butter):
- Peels from up to 4 oranges
- 2-3 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- extra sugar for rolling or chocolate for dipping (or both!)
(Adapt the amount of sugar and water if you're using fewer orange peels, but keep the ratio about the same. I think this is part of where I went wrong the first time)
- To separate the orange peel from the pulp, slice off the top and bottom ends of your orange and than cut it into segments. Scrape a knife in between the peel and pulp - it's OK to leave some or a lot of the white part, but cut off all the juicy pulp
- Cut the peel into 1/4 inch or 1/8 inch strips
- Place slices into a pot of cold water and bring to a boil. Dump out the water, refill it with cold water and repeat process 2 more times (this is the blanching process)
- Combine water and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil, keeping the heat high until the mixture reaches a temperature of about 230 degrees.
- Add orange peels, reduce heat to a LOW simmer (as low as your flame will go) and allow peels to simmer for 30 minutes or more until they become translucent
- Remove peels from syrup and place on a cooling rack to dry, rolling in sugar first if you'd like
- Peels will become completely dry after several hours (I waited 24 hours to continue) and than you can dip peels into melted chocolate if you'd like
- Once dipped, let the chocolate coated peels dry on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper