Candied fruit slices are delicious and luxe looking, which makes them perfect for the holidays. Glistening in the pan and sparkly under kitchen lights, they always remind me of ornaments. Enjoy them on their own or as an accompaniment to a slice of cake, but make sure to reserve the syrup left in the pan to make a candied orange margarita.
2 unwaxed oranges
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
Candied Orange Margarita
1 ounce reposado tequila
½ ounce Cointreau
½ ounce candied orange syrup
Juice of 1 large lime
Salt for rim optional
Rows of candied fruit slices drying on racks are quite a sight. The translucence of each intact piece is achieved by slowly cooking the fruit in sugar and water. Begin by cutting off the ends of each orange and slicing the rest of the fruit into ¼ inch rounds. Place the oranges in a single layer in a large pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and blanch for three minutes. Remove the orange slices and discard the water. Repeat the process by covering the oranges with fresh water and boiling for another three minutes.
After the second round of blanching, fill the pan with 2 cups of water. Add 1 cup of sugar and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the oranges slices in a single layer, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Transfer the orange slices to a cooling rack and dry until they are tacky but not overly sticky. This may take anywhere from a few hours to half a day. Strain the syrup and reserve.
Candied oranges can be dipped in chocolate or used to accompany other desserts, but I prefer to eat them all on their own. The tender slices are also a beautiful, edible garnish for winter cocktails, such as this candied orange margarita.
For each drink, combine the tequila, Cointreau, syrup, and lime juice in a shaker with ice. Garnish each glass with a candied orange and an optional salt rim. A perfect winter margarita.