Although usually associated with winter holidays, candied orange peels are a lovely year-round treat. They add a velvety zing to desserts or are a perfect on their own with coffee. A little bag of homemade candied orange peels dipped in chocolate—the darker the better, unless you’re a white chocolate aficionado—is a beautiful gift, and it’s also a nice treat for yourself.–Charity Ferreira

How else can I use candied citrus peel?

These little chocolate-dipped lovelies aren’t only an impressive way to salvage citrus peels that would otherwise be tossed in the compost or (gasp) trash. They’re also something swanky to nibble that will make everyone ooh and aah, whether you set them out alone or as an accent to an ensemble of desserts, perhaps as the unifying element that strings together, say, an orange flan and chocolate macaroons. No one will complain either way–unless you run out.

Strips of chocolate dipped candied orange peel on a white surface.

Chocolate-Dipped Candied Orange Peel

5 / 2 votes
Chocolate-dipped citrus peel boasts the bright flavor and texture of candied peel tempered by the subtle sophistication of dark chocolate. A distinctly adult treat.
David Leite
CourseDessert
CuisineAmerican
Servings8 servings | makes 1 cup
Calories309 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time5 hours

Ingredients 

For the candied citrus peel

  • 5 medium (2 1/2 lbs) navel oranges, preferably organic
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water

For the chocolate dip

  • 8 ounces chocolate, preferably bittersweet, chopped

Instructions 

Make the candied orange peel

  • Scrub the oranges. Slice the stem end off the orange and place the cut end on a cutting board. Make vertical cuts, about 1 inch apart, all the way through the peel. Carefully peel off the scored sections of rind. With a sharp paring knife, trim away as much of the white pith from the peel as you can. Cut each portion of peel lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips.
  • Place the orange peels in a small pan and add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Drain the peels and set aside.
  • Place the pan over medium-low heat and add the 1 1/2 cups each sugar and water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the orange peels to the simple syrup and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and translucent, 25 to 40 minutes, depending on the thickness.
  • Place a wire cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet lined with wax paper. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to transfer the peels to the rack. Let stand until still slightly tacky but almost dry, 1 to 1 1/2 hours

Dip the peels

  • Place the chocolate in a bowl set over, but not touching, a pan of hot or gently simmer water. Stir frequently until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.
  • Dip each orange peel about halfway into the chocolate, shaking gently to allow any excess to drip back into the bowl. Place the peels on the waxed paper.
  • Let the candied orange peels sit at room temperature until firm, about 24 hours, or place in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 1 hour. Then serve or gift to your heart’s content. (The chocolate-covered candied orange peels will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.) Originally published April 27, 2008.
Brittles, Barks, & Bonbons by Charity Ferreira

Adapted From

Brittles, Barks, & Bonbons

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Nutrition

Serving: 1 portionCalories: 309 kcalCarbohydrates: 52 gProtein: 2 gFat: 11 gSaturated Fat: 6 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gTrans Fat: 0.02 gCholesterol: 2 mgSodium: 5 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 48 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2008 Charity Ferreira. Photo © 2008 Karen Steffens. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

If you’re dedicating some time in the kitchen to make holiday gifts, these candied orange peel are a wonderful treat. I found the recipe to be easy to follow and the chocolate dipped candied citrus peel to be delicious.

What a fun project for a foggy holiday afternoon. We started with pounds of organic navel oranges and ended with 72 strips of candied orange. We didn’t use the full 8 oz. of melted chocolate. We chilled the strips and then packed 3 each in wax paper wrappers for gifts. Lovely.

These were fun to make and will be fun to give. Your efforts are rewarded with colorful, chewy-chocolatey homemade candy. I’ll add these to holiday cookie trays, tie up a few alongside a Christmas card, or pop into a present for someone special.

Keep in mind when you start that the drying may take longer than described; I couldn’t dip for a good 4 hours, and the texture of the candied peels was most pleasant after a day. The amount of chocolate needed to dip could easily be halved.

I worried I’d need to blanch the strips multiple times, changing the water to cut the bitterness, but this long simmer was just fine. This makes many, many small servings for eating and gifting.

These are a wonderful holiday treat, and will certainly impress your friends. This also makes an attractive addition to a dessert table at a holiday gathering and is not at all complicated to prepare, though plenty of time must be allowed for the entire process.

I used organic oranges and created 128 strips. My trimming technique became better, and faster, as I went on. Hence, my first strips had more pith and were slightly thicker than the later ones. When I do this again, I will have pith paring expertise and so my strips will be more consistent. I found it easier to slice off both ends of the orange, as the strips tore on the side opposite the stem end if I did not.

When I simmered the strips in the simple syrup, my thin strips took only 25 minutes of simmering to become soft and translucent. It took less than a half hour for my strips to reach the slightly tacky but almost dry state described although my kitchen was warm (actually, quite hot) and dry. I used a beautiful Valrhona bittersweet chocolate. I don’t know if there is really any reason to chop it.

Chocolate dipped candied citrus peel is something I associate with overpriced specialty food stores and hostess gifts. I honestly thought this was going to be more work than the end product was worth, but I was so wrong.

It takes a little bit of time to prepare the orange peels, but after that the steps are easy. The result is delicious and beautiful. I was making these to take to a holiday party next week, but they might not last that long. If only I could force myself to eat the peeled oranges instead of the candy!

We happen to like chocolate-dipped candied citrus peel. They are a memory my husband has from growing up. Over the years, I’ve made different recipes to recreate that memory. This is a solid method.

My 5 medium navel oranges yielded 110 strips of orange peel. I’m sure hoping that they last longer than the 1 week. I can’t see why not. I have in our refrigerator, candied orange peel that I made well over a year ago, forgot about, and then found. (Surprise!)

The one thing that I am waiting to find out, is that if after sitting, perhaps overnight, these peels will become a bit stiffer. They are very soft. But that’s not be a problem as we’ve been happily eating them.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    When you are finished candying the orange peel, SAVE THE SYRUP!
    You will have an intensely flavored orange syrup that will go wonderfully in, say, iced tea.(You will think of other uses.)

    1. Fantastic, Steve! It is always great to make double or triple use of recipes. Please let us know what you make next.