Taste is very a personal thing – thank heavens! – and that sometimes results in funny/curious things: I love UB40, even though I can’t stand reggae music; the smell of coffee is one of my favorite smells in the world, but I don’t drink it (don’t like its flavor). My friend, for instance, doesn’t like candied citrus peel but she adored these cookies. :D
Don’t be intimidated by making your own candied orange peel – it’s not difficult; you just need a sharp knife and an extra dose of patience.
Candied orange sugar cookies
from Food & Wine magazine
1 cup (226g/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (200g) sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons julienned candied orange peel (recipe follows)
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add ¾ cup (150g) of the sugar and beat at medium speed until fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla. At low speed, beat in the flour and salt. Gather the dough into a ball and shape it into 2 logs, each about 1 ½ inches (3.75cm) in diameter. Roll the logs in the remaining ¼ cup (50g) of sugar*. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF; line two large baking sheets with baking paper.
Using a thin, sharp knife, slice the logs ¼ inch (0.6cm) thick. Arrange the slices on prepared sheets and press a few slivers of candied orange peel in the center of each. Bake the cookies on the upper and lower racks of the oven for about 22 minutes, until golden around the edges and on the bottom; shift the pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking - I preferred to bake one sheet at a time. Let the cookies cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.
The cookie dough can be frozen for up to 1 month. The baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
* the dough was too sticky to be rolled in sugar so I just sprinkled it around the baking paper and shaped the dough into a log, sprinkling a little extra over the log before wrapping it – I ended up using less than ¼ cup sugar.
Makes 4 dozen cookies – I halved the recipe and got 28
Candied orange peel
from The Perfect Scoop
4 large oranges, preferably unsprayed
2 cups (480ml) water
1 cup (200g) sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
pinch of salt
With a vegetable peeler, remove strips of peel 1 inch (2.5cm) wide from the oranges, cutting lengthwise down the fruit. Remove just the colorful outer peel, leaving behind the bitter white pith. using a very sharp knife, slice the peel lengthwise into very thin strips no wider than a toothpick.
Put the strips of peel in a small, nonreactive saucepan, add enough water to cover them by a few inches and bring to a boil. Reduce to a gentle boil and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, strain the peel and rinse with fresh water.
Combine the 2 cups water, sugar, corn syrup and salt in the saucepan. Fit the pan with a candy thermometer and bring to a boil. Add the blanched peel, reduce the heat and cook at a very low boil for about 25 minutes, until the thermometer reads 110ºC/230ºF. Turn off the heat and let the peel cool in the syrup.
Once cool, lift the peel out of the syrup with a fork, letting the syrup drain away – some of the peel got stuck in the bottom of the pan and I could remove them by quickly reheating the syrup.
Place the strips separately, side by side, on a large baking sheet lined with baking paper and let them dry overnight – if you won’t use all the peel, leave them in the syrup and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
Makes about 1 cup (200g drained)