Best Candied Orange Peel for Breads, Cakes, and Cookies

Happy New Year!  I wanted to share with you a recipe for candied orange peel that I used this holiday season.  I made one batch, which covered all my baking needs for the holidays, with some left over.  I used it in my Polish spiced honey cake (“piernik“), Polish fruitcake (“keks“), and Polish poppyseed roll (“makowiec”).  I also used it to decorate walnut/orange-spice chocolate pralines that I made as part of my chocolatiering efforts for the holidays.  I wanted to make a German stollen, but alas, time ran away from me!  This peel could also be used in my German Honey Spice Cookie recipe.

I’m calling this recipe “Candied Orange Peel II” because I previously posted a candied orange peel recipe a couple of years ago.  This “Candied Orange Peel II” recipe is a little simpler and yields peel that is, in my opinion, softer and more “candied.”  It is my new favorite candied orange peel recipe.  It requires three ingredients, has no corn syrup, does not require a thermometer, but takes 3 hours or more of cooking time.  It yields a lot of peel just like my first recipe, but the holidays usually call for a lot of peel!  However, the recipe can be cut in half if you do not need so much peel.

Below is the recipe and step-by-step instructions with photos follow.

Print Recipe
Candied Orange Peel II (3 ingredients/3 hours)
Uses: baked goods (bread, cakes, gingerbread, quick bread) and confections
Keyword Christmas, Fruit
Servings
cups cubes of peel
Ingredients
  • 3-4 medium large oranges* [see Recipe notes section]
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
Keyword Christmas, Fruit
Servings
cups cubes of peel
Ingredients
  • 3-4 medium large oranges* [see Recipe notes section]
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
Instructions
  1. Up to 2 days prior to candying peel, prepare peel: Score through peel of oranges to make four sections. Peel sections. To soften, place peel in large glass jar or plastic container and fill with cold water. Keep at room temperature up to 2 days, changing water daily.
  2. Slice 6 strips from each section and slice into cubes (1 cm x 1 cm). Place in medium pot. Fill with cold water until peel is covered. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Transfer peel to sieve and drain. Repeat blanching process 3 to 4 more times. After the last time, keep peel in sieve while preparing the sugar syrup.
  3. Pour water into clean, medium pot. Pour sugar into the middle of the pot, avoiding sides. Gently stir or "poke" the sugar into the water with a wooden spoon or a heat resistant Silicone spatula in order to moisten the sugar and get the sugar to dissolve.  [Do not remove spoon or spatula from pot.] Bring syrup to a boil. Transfer drained peel to pot. Reduce heat to medium low and slowly simmer for approximately 3 to 3 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir more frequently towards the end of cooking. Remove pot from heat when peel is translucent and very little syrup remains in the pot.
  4. Remove peel from syrup and spread out onto a wire rack lined with wax or parchment paper. [Discard syrup or refrigerate for different use.] When peel cools to room temperature, transfer to glass storage jar and close with lid. Store jar in refrigerator until needed. Keeps refrigerated up to 3-4 months.
Recipe Notes
  • If cutting the recipe in half, prepare peel using only 2 oranges, and then cut the sugar and water proportions in half.
  • To use for decoration purposes, toss a few cubes of candied peel in granulated sugar.
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STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS

One to two days before candying the peel, prepare the peels by washing 3-4 oranges, scoring through the peel to make four sections, peeling the sections and placing the peels in a large, clean glass jar or plastic yogurt container.  Fill the container with cold water and cover.  [If cutting the recipe in half, prepare peel using only 2 oranges, and later when candying, cut the sugar and water proportions in half.]  Keep the container at room temperature overnight or up to 2 days, changing the water at least once a day.  This process will soften the peel and make it easier to slice.

When ready to start the candying process, prepare the orange cubes.  Slice 6 strips from each section of peel and slice into small cubes (1 cm x 1 cm). Place cubes in a medium pot and fill the pot with cold water until the peel is covered.  Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat.  Boil for one minute and then strain.  Repeat this process 3 to 4 more times, which helps to remove bitterness.

After the last round, keep the peel in the strainer and set aside while preparing some syrup.  Clean the medium pot and pour 2 cups of cold water into it.  Add 2 1/2 cups sugar, pouring the sugar in the middle of the pot and avoiding the sides.

Turn on the heat to medium and up to medium high to dissolve the sugar.  Gently stir or “poke” the sugar into the water with a wooden spoon or a heat resistant Silicone spatula in order to moisten the sugar and get the sugar to dissolve.  Be careful with this step!  You do not want the sugar crystals to melt and then recrystallize because then you’ll get hard clumps of undissolved sugar floating around in the water.

Bring the syrup to a boil.

Transfer the drained peel into the pot with the boiling syrup.

Reduce the heat to medium low and slowly simmer for approximately 3 to 3 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir more frequently towards the end of cooking to prevent scorching.

Remove the pot from the heat when the peel is translucent and very little syrup remains in the pot.

Spread the peel out onto a wire rack lined with wax or parchment paper. When the peel cools to room temperature, transfer to a glass storage jar and close with a lid. Refrigerate until needed. The peel keeps refrigerated about 3-4 months.

Here is a semi-up-close shot of the peel.

The peel should be soft and tender–perfect for baked goods!

Best Wishes this Holiday Season!

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