Homemade food gifts have always been one of my favorite things to give (and receive) during the holiday season. My mom recently mailed me a special issue of Taste of Home magazine that solely focused on food gifts (she knows me all too well). After skimming through pages of masterfully crafted recipes, I began to see a common theme; It wasn’t actually the food so much that I was interested in, it was the presentation. You should all know by now that I am a sucker for gourmet food products. Pack it in a fancy box and tie a pretty bow on top, and I am sold! So when it came to deciding what to take as a hostesses gift for a trip last weekend, I had no trouble deciding what to bring.
After a bit of searching I stumbled across this article by Martha Stewart. After singling out a few items and determining how much time I could actually devote to cooking, I decided on this little gem of a recipe.
Perfectly balanced and delectably crunchy, my only regret is not making more!
Candied Citrus Peels
Adapted from Martha Stewart1 grapefruit, 2 oranges, and 4 lemons (or citrus fruits of your choice) 4 cups sugar, plus more for rolling 4 cups water
Using a paring knife, make slits along the curve of the fruit from top to bottom, cutting through the peel, but not into the fruit itself. Gently remove the peel. Using your knife, remove excess pith from each slice. This step is important as leaving too much pith in tact will cause your peel to taste bitter. Slice each piece lengthwise into ¼ to ½ inch-wide strips.
Place strips in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, drain, and repeat twice.
Meanwhile, bring water and sugar to a boil, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Add strips to boiling syrup, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until strips are translucent, about one hour.
Remove from heat and let strips cool in syrup. (Strips in syrup will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to three weeks.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer strips to a wire rack placed over foil. Allow excess syrup to drip off of strips before coating with sugar. Roll each strip in additional sugar until well coated. Arranged in a single layer on a foil-covered cookie sheet and let dry for at least 30 minutes.
Once dry, store in a pretty box lined with parchment paper, or just keep them for yourself. I wouldn’t blame you if you did. They should keep, covered, for up to two weeks, though I doubt they’ll last long enough for you to find out!
Wondering what to do with all of that left over syrup? Brush it on cakes, concoct a tasty beverage, or wow your friends by giving it as a gift.
What kind of homemade gifts are you making this holiday season?