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This is the perfect gift to make for someone when you’re a little short on cash. Since it’s made from sugar, and something you would normally throw away, it’s the ultimate way to recycle. Although they’re delicious plain, I dipped some of them in chocolate, and chopped others to sprinkle on top of chocolate lollipops. I was surprised how much I liked the way the candied peels tasted when paired with white chocolate.

The key to getting these to taste perfect is the number and amount of time you simmer and drain the peels, and the amount of pith you successfully slice off. It’s quite easy, and though I made mine with orange peels, you can also make them with grapefruit peels, lemons, or even Meyer lemons.

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candied orange peel

5 oranges
4 cups sugar
3 cups water

1. Use a pairing knife to cut the skin off of either end of an orange. Carefully score the skin from end to end, cutting through the peel but not into the flesh of the fruit. Repeat the same lengthwise cut six or seven times around the orange, to create sections of peel. Repeat with remaining oranges. Save fruit in airtight containers in the refrigerator for another use.

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2. Fill a pot with cool water. Add peels. Bring to a boil, and simmer for ten minutes. Drain the peel, and repeat the same process 5 times. Rinse peels with cool water and drain. Take each section of peel, and cut lengthwise into three strips. Use a sharp pairing knife to carefully slice as much of the white pith away as possible, leaving the orange skin.

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3. Fill a pot with 3 cups of sugar and 3 cups of water. Bring to a gentle boil. Add the slices of orange peel, and let simmer gently for 45 minutes to an hour. Turn off heat, cover, and let cool. (If syrup becomes too thick, or crystalized, add a tablespoon or two of water, and bring just to a simmer, and shut off heat.) When the peels are cool to the touch, drain briefly on a wire rack set over a piece of parchment paper. Working in small batches, roll the peel in the remaining sugar. Place back on rack to allow to cool and dry. Peel will stay fresh in an airtight container for at least a week.

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to make chocolate dipped candied orange peel:

Melt semi-sweet (Guittard semi-sweet chocolate chips) or white chocolate (Baker’s Premium White Chocolate Baking Squares, chopped) in double boiler, or in a microwave (30 second intervals on high, stirring well after each). Dip orange peel in chocolate halfway, and allow to set on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and refrigerate until set.

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to make chocolate pops with candied orange peel:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt semi-sweet chocolate and white chocolate in separate bowls according to the instructions above. With a spoon, place about a 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate on the parchment paper. Place a lollipop stick in the chocolate. Pour on white chocolate to cover the semi-sweet chocolate. Top with chopped candied orange peel. Refrigerate or freeze until set.

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