These little candied orange slices were conceived to top a challenging chocolate cake with orange buttercream and ganache. Only one made it on the cake. The rest of them sat on the kitchen counter looking pretty, until one by one, they disappeared. My favorite part about these is how beautiful they are. Hold them up to the light and they are like mini stained glass windows that you get to eat. If there was ever a gingerbread house in the Hansel and Gretel nursery rhyme, these are what the windows would be made of. They taste intensely orange, and I enjoyed the perfectly chewy peels.
I thought candying fruit was a time consuming process involving multiple dips in boiling sugared water, but this recipe was really easy. All you need to do is throw it in the pot and let it slowly boil down until the water evaporates. The recipe specifies this takes 30 minutes, but I think mine were going for nearly an hour. The key is to keep the heat low, and check the pot to make sure you don’t scorch the sugar when you get close to the end.
These are delicious just as they are, but for a real treat, dip them in dark chocolate. They are beautiful on top of cakes and pies and hold their shape well. These will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, but if you expose them to humidity, they will start to get sticky. If you plan to store these for any length of time, I recommend rolling them in sugar and allowing them to dry on a baking rack for a few days-or better yet, in a food dehydrator.
This recipe calls for a Navel orange, but I used an organic orange that had a thinner skin. Recipe from Grace Parisi, Food & Wine magazine.
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Navel orange, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
Combine all of the ingredients in a small, heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook about 15 minutes, turning the slices a few times. Turn the heat to low and continue to cook as the liquid becomes a thick syrup. Turn the slices a few more times as the liquid evaporates, being careful not to let the sugar scorch. After another 15 minutes, remove the slices and place them on a wire rack to cool.
Reserve the remaining sugar syrup for another use.