Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Candied Lemon Peel

Let me begin this post by saying how much I love my gas stove. I was hesitant (okay let's be honest I was pretty freaked out) at the concept of a gas stove when we were in the beginning stages of buying this house. I had only used a gas stove once before and after much frustration burned the crud out of some Kraft mac and cheese. Why yes that was before I learned how to cook, how did you know? :) I love the complete control this stove gives me. No blinking between hot and warm, no getting progressively hotter if I go overboard with the quantity of French toast, and no rearranging pots to keep the right one covering the most recently hot burner. I turn off the burner and the boiling stops instantly. I could not have imagined it would be so neat.

My point is that now I feel extra adventurous in my cooking and was recently inspired by a photo in a cookbook (of lemon fudge) to make candied lemon peels. The process was pretty simple. I combined several recipes.  I used a vegetable peeler and tried for long strips. My peeler does wider strips than I wanted to use so I just cut them in half lengthwise.

Next time I'll repeat the water discard a second time - the peels turned out excellent but the syrup was a bit bitter still. The water replacement cuts down on the bitterness. I would also love to experiment with adding a small cheesecloth bag of lavender or ginger in the last batch of water. 

Candied Lemon Peels

Peel of one medium lemon
1 1/3 cup water, divided in half
2/3 cup sugar plus more for coating

Boil half the water in a small saucepan. Add lemon peels and boil for five minutes. Drain water and discard. Bring the rest of the water to a boil. Add lemon peels and boil for five minutes. Set peels aside and add sugar and ginger to boiling water, stir to dissolve. Put peels back into the sugar water, bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer on medium low until translucent (about ten minutes). Remove peels from water and spread, not touching each other, on a cooling rack to cool, 10-15 minutes.
Next, cover the strips in sugar. This was a little tricky since they are very sticky like honey. I found the easiest way was to pile sugar on a cookie sheet and press the sugar on top. Keep them separated so they don't clump.

Use as a delicious garnish for anything related to lemons! 

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