The idea of candying an orange peel had always intimidated me.  I thought it would take too long or that I would need a candy thermometer, which I for some reason have neglected to buy all these years.  At worst I feared it would end up a huge disaster involving burnt peels and hard candy stuck to the inside of my pans.  But the process was surprisingly easy!

It’s a great way to use those large, bulky oranges which are usually reserved for juicing because they are so fibrous.  It only takes 1 cup of sugar and some chocolate to transform these otherwise fairly inedible peels into a fancy candy that make perfect christmas gifts!

4 large oranges
1 c sugar
1 c water (maybe more)
about 10 oz dark chocolate

For guidance i started with some help from Deb over at Smitten Kitchen, because her post has lots of pictures and tips she picked up along the way, but she based her post on a recipe from Food Network.

Start by cutting the top and bottom off of your oranges and scoring a few times from top to bottom.  Remove these chunks of peel all together.

Slice into strips that are no more than 1/4th inch wide.

To take some of the bitterness out of the peels blanch them twice.  Just bring a medium pot full of water to boil and cook the pieces for 3-4 minutes, remove, replace with fresh water, and repeat one more time.

Now mix the sugar and water and stir to incorporate, if the sugar does not completely dissolve do not worry, it will when heated.  Add it to a medium-sized pot and start to heat.  When bubbles start to form add the orange peels and cover.

[Note:  I ended up adding a touch more water (1-2 tbsp) because I was worried that the mixture did not cover the peels, but remember it will bubble up and you will stir the peels fairly frequently so it’s not a problem.]

Find the heat that allows the sugar water to gently bubble over the peels, I found this between medium and low heat.  Cook with the cover on for 1 hour, checking and stirring ever 15 minutes.  It is very important to cover, since there is not much water you don’t want any more boiling off.  If the water reduces too much then add a little extra.  It is also important to check on them every 15 minutes, since sugar can quickly burn and the peels need to be rotated to candy evenly.

After the hour is up you’ll want to transfer the candied peels to a cooling rack fairly quickly so they don’t all stick together.  I did this with some tongs at first and before long they were cool enough to quickly fish the rest out with my fingers, which was a lot quicker.

All of my sugar water cooked into the peels and boiled off so there was essentially nothing left at the end of the hour, but if you have residual liquid then reserve it as a tasty orange syrup you can use for something beverages or other baked goods.

Let them cool thoroughly before covering with chocolate.

Use a double boiler to melt the chocolate.  I make one from a small pot with a thin layer of water and a ceramic bowl that rests on top without touching the water inside.  Bring the water in the pot to a simmer, reduce to low, cover with the bowl, and melt the chocolate in the bowl on top.  The steam from the water below will heat up the bowl just enough to melt he chocolate, but keep the temperature low so it won’t burn.

Honestly, I think the peels are best when completely covered in chocolate, but this takes a bit of work to finagle.  I started by doing that, with two forks, but it was taking way too long and making a bit of a mess.  So I switched over to dipping the peels about 3/4th of the way in and leaving them at that.  This make them look a little better I think, because you can actually tell what they are, but either way they are going to taste good.

The original recipe used 16 oz of chocolate which would make it a bit easier but would leave you with left over chocolate.  I only used 10 oz so it got harder to cover the peels towards the end when there was not much chocolate left, but they did all get covered.  You can also use milk chocolate if you prefer.

Let them cool until the chocolate is hard, on either a piece of wax paper, parchment paper, or aluminum foil.  As soon as they are hardened, transfer to an air-tight container (mason jars work great if you are giving as a gift) and enjoy asap.  I find that if they sit around for about a week the chocolate starts to get that dried-out spotted look so eat them all up before that happens and have yourself a happy holiday!

Yields several dozen


Would go great with:


5 Responses to “Orangettes”
  1. Caitlin says:

    How many does this make?

  2. Jodi says:

    Just made these for my mother in-law as a Mother’s Day gift- she is obsessed with anything orange flavored especially with chocolate. These turned out amazing. She is going to freak out. Thank you!


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