Candied Orange Peel
I have a strong childhood association with those fake candied orange candies from Brach's. And as an adult, I have gravitated towards chocolate-covered candied orange peels. So, when I realized I could make the orange peels myself, I was able to connect an old family tradition with the creation of a new one. You don't even need a candy thermometer for this one, although it may take a couple batches to wrap your head around it.
Candied Orange Peel
3 navel or valencia oranges
1.5 cups of granulated sugar
3/4 cup of water
Rinse the oranges.
Cut the top and bottom off each orange and score the skin into quarters. If you have a large orange, you may need to score the skin into sixths. Whatever size you think you can handle while maintaining the integrity of the skin. I even score the top of the orange, between the pulp and the pith, to expedite the peeling process.
Remove the skin (peel and pith, the white part). I aim for as thick as possible. Using a spoon to gently separate the pith from the pulp saves your thumbs from too much work. Cut the skin into strips about ¼" wide. Wrap the oranges in plastic wrap to store for other use.
Place the strips of peel in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Set on the stove on high heat and bring to a boil. Drain the water from the peels and repeat this process twice more.
In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and the water. (I whisked them directly in the saucepan).
Pour the sugar water into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Let the mixture cook for 8-9 minutes at a constant simmer.
Add the peel and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, OR just until the peels are translucent, adjusting heat as necessary to maintain the simmer. Avoid stirring, as this will cause crystallation. If necessary, swirl the pan to make sure that all of the peels get covered with the syrup.
Drain any remaining syrup from the peels and set aside for other use (perhaps tea?!) There will probably be only a tablespoon or two of syrup left. Spread the peels out on a drying rack and leave to dry for 4-5 hours. Store in an airtight container.
Personal observations: I used a wide pan for the blanching stage. Then a 3 quart saucepan for the candied part. I was afraid the syrup would be too thin to reach all the peels at first, so I used a smaller but taller pot. The medium pot I used in a second batch works much better.
It may not look like all the peels are submerged by the syrup, so the gentle swirling can make sure they are coated. Somehow, it still works, even though they aren't submerged completely.
The original recipe at Food Network uses more sugar to water than this recipe. I don't know the effects on that, but I will try that ratio another time.