There's something magical about transforming simple citrus peels into delightful, sugary treats. Whether you're a seasoned chef or a kitchen enthusiast, this recipe is a wonderful way to elevate your culinary skills and create a delicious snack that's both impressive and surprisingly easy to make.
- 6-8 mandarin oranges (organic if you can)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups water
- Additional sugar for coating (optional)
Prep the Mandarins: Wash the mandarins thoroughly to remove any dirt or wax from the peel. Cut the top and bottom off each mandarin. With a sharp paring knife, score the peel of the mandarins into quarters, making sure not to cut too deeply into the flesh. Carefully remove the peel in quarters.
Blanch the Peels: Place the peels in a saucepan and cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the peels simmer for about 5 minutes. Drain the peels and repeat this blanching process two more times. Blanching helps remove bitterness from the peels.
Make Sugar Syrup: In a separate pot, combine 2 cups of sugar with 2 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves completely. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes to create a simple syrup.
Cook the Peels: Add the blanched mandarin peels to the simmering sugar syrup. Allow the peels to cook over low-medium heat for around 45-60 minutes or until the peels turn translucent. Stir occasionally to ensure even coating and prevent sticking.
Drain and Cool: Once the peels are translucent and the syrup has thickened, use a slotted spoon to remove the peels from the syrup. Place the peels on a wire rack or parchment paper to cool. If desired, roll the cooled peels in additional granulated sugar for extra sweetness and texture.
Dry the Peels: Let the candied peels sit at room temperature for several hours or overnight to dry. This process allows the sugar to set and the peels to harden slightly.
Enjoy or Store: Once dried, the candied mandarin peels are ready to be enjoyed! They make a delightful snack on their own or can be used to decorate cakes, desserts, or even dipped in chocolate. Store the candied peels in an airtight container at room temperature for up to several weeks.