By Kelly Winegar from Sherburne, NY
Need a unique recipe?
With Valentine’s Day approaching, I thought I’d share this addicting candy recipe. Hearts are in the air, or love… or something. Anyway, I stumbled across this idea a while back, and I have to say it’s pretty delicious. The candy melts away in your mouth, leaving a zesty flavor. If you’re looking for something unique to gift to your special someone for Valentine’s Day and boring old cookies won’t do, why not give this a go?
I’m going to be using a couple of Sumo Orange citrus fruits I bought from the grocery store, but if you’re feeling froggy, you can substitute this recipe with any type of citrus or even thinly sliced ginger. If you really want that “wow factor” I suggest dipping half of each piece in chocolate. Maybe not the ginger though.
You will need a decently sharp knife and patience. So, we’ve chosen our sacrifice and need to make sure everything is clean. Wash your hands, wash the outside of the fruit, and have a fair amount of filtered water. We are going to be preparing the rind of the citrus, so get all the germs and dirt off, unless this is revenge candy. Then, add jalapeno juice at the end. I think I might try a spicy version next time. Be careful of inhaling the spicy fumes if you go for this option.
After you peel your citrus, you’ll need that knife. You want to get as much of the pith, the white part, off of the rind as possible. The less pith remaining, the more candy-like your final product will turn out. If you leave too much of the white behind, your pieces will turn out a little soggy. If you want to try using ginger, peel and slice it very thin.
Once you’ve got everything peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces, put everything in a good-sized pot. This means the rind and that filtered water. Now, proceed to boil the hell out of it. I added a pinch of salt into my first boil, but that is not necessary. Keep a very close eye on this process because it is very easy to walk away and come back to a burned mess, as the water evaporates pretty fast during the first boil. You will need to boil the rinds 2-3 times, changing the water each time. The bits should be really tender and smell amazing. The point of this step is to ensure that the final candy is not bitter.
When you feel like your citrus rind bits have been properly baptized, we are going to do one final boil in simple sugar syrup. Simple sugar is a 1:1 of water and sugar. Add that to the rinds and reduce, making sure all the sugar is dissolved. I happen to have all my sugar stored mixed with a vanilla bean pod. Super fancy, right? Remember the rest of the fruit? Now is the perfect time if you want to add back in a bit of the juice. I used all the juice of one fruit. Reducing the syrup will give the candy a more crystalized effect.
Once your ancestors tell you it’s done, transfer all the pieces to a cooling rack in a single layer and let them dry for at least 15 minutes. When dry, toss the pieces in sugar or additionally dip them in melted chocolate if you desire. After tossing in sugar, leave the candies on the cooling rack to dry evenly for several hours. If you feel like your candies aren’t drying, you can toss them into a dehydrator or in the oven on the lowest setting with the fan on or the door slightly ajar for half an hour.
Now, you’ve got yourself some super sweet candy. I suggest you store them in an airtight container to prevent any moisture from getting inside, otherwise, you’re either going to find a soggy mess or very stale candy. Unless you have consumed everything in a sugar frenzy, they will last about a month, longer if chilled or frozen. You can also use these candies as additions to baked treats like cupcakes. Bonus, now you’ve got very fancy orange simple syrup, which I’m sure you can find plenty of use for.
Anyways, go, be free, and have fun in the kitchen.
Time: 2-3 hours
2-3 Citrus Peels, sliced to preference
1 1/2 cup Sugar
Juice of chosen citus