As oranges come into season, I’m working to use up the sorry looking group of old oranges that still lurk on my tree from last year. That’s the beauty of backyard citrus, you can pick as you need rather than having to harvest everything at once.
Enter, candied orange slices. These little beauties turn that overflowing bowl of oranges into glistening treasure. Add a batch or two of these slices to your holiday repertoire. Serve drop-in friends a little plate of slices for a sweet nibble, tie them onto to presents for an organic looking upgrade, or even add a touch of velvet ribbon to hang them on the Christmas tree— they look so pretty with a little bit of light shining through.
In the past, I’ve tried recipes for candied orange slices that were labor intensive with way too many steps for my short attention span. This year, I tinkered with a recipe found in an old Food and Wine magazine and landed on the right formula— I like the slices to be crunchy, not too sweet and with a little bit of spice. Best of all, this rendition is a snap.
Candied Orange Slices
Makes approx. 2 dozen slices
3 large navel or juicing oranges
3 cups water
2 cups sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Slice the end off the oranges and set aside—any ends that are juicy will be used for the sauce later on. Slice the oranges about ¼” to ½” thick. Grab a large pot and bring three cups of water and two cups of sugar to a boil over high heat. Now, squeeze any juice out of those ends you saved into the water and drop in two cinnamon sticks.
Once the water starts to boil, places the orange slices into the stockpot and lower to medium-high heat. Turn the oranges occasionally, they will sort of puff-up and look a bit like bologna does when you sauté it in a pan. Let them go like this for about 20 minutes. Turn down the heat to a low simmer for another 10 minutes. During this phase the liquid will become more syrupy.
Take the orange slices out of the liquid and place them in a single layer on a drying rack. Bake in preheated oven for approximately six hours. The slices are done when they are completely dry and somewhat brittle. Cooking in the sugar water makes the slices glisten, almost as if you coated them with sugar before they went in the over. Added bonus- the sugar water mixture also makes a terrific syrup. Strain out the cinnamon sticks, pour it into a jar and keep in the fridge to use in those holiday cocktails.