I’m not really a Martha Stewart wanna-be (though I know I may appear that way at times!) but when this recipe showed up in her magazine last year, along with other classic confections, I pulled the pages out of the magazine because they were so pretty. I never really intended to make them… Then came our family’s annual gathering. We don’t officially call it Christmas as it takes place in October (for my grandfather’s birthday) but we do our gift giving then.
My grandfather is impossible to buy for and wants nothing… So I have begun to gift him with homemade treats. Last year’s gift was candied citrus peels.
2 grapefruits, 3 oranges, or 4 lemons
4 cups sugar, plus more for rolling
4 cups water
Using a paring knife very carefully make 6 slits along curve from top to bottom of each citrus fruit, cutting through peel but not into fruit. Using your fingers (I used a citrus peeler), gently remove peel. Reserve fruit for another use. Slice each piece of peel lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Using a paring knife, remove excess pith from each strip and discard (this is time consuming).
Place citrus strips in a large saucepan, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then drain. Repeat twice (total of 3 times).
Bring sugar and water to a boil, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Stop stirring. Wash sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Add strips to boiling syrup, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until strips are translucent, about 1 hour. Remove from heat, and let strips cool in syrup. (Strips in syrup will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 weeks.)
Using a slotted spoon, transfer strips to a wire rack placed on a rimmed baking sheet. Wipe off excess syrup with paper towels, then roll strips in sugar. Arrange in a single layer on a wire rack, and let dry for at least 30 minutes (I suggest an hour). Sugared peels will keep, covered at room temperature, for up to 2 weeks.
Of course Martha Stewart has a very attractive way of packaging these. Mine didn’t package that way, but it was pretty, none-the-less.
I bought a tin at Michael’s for $2.99 and holiday ribbon for $1. I cut circles for the base of the tin and the lid from waxed paper. I cut the ribbon into 2 pieces, taped the ends to the lid and attached the label to the top.
In total I spent under $10 for this gift. My grandfather enjoyed it (mostly because I took the time to make it) and everyone in my family had to try one – and then rave about them!
These are also great for any gathering you may be hosting or attending.