Adapted from Chocolate Obsession by Michael Recchiuti
6 large oranges OR 4 medium Ruby Red grapefruits
5 cups granulated sugar
4 1/4 cups water
2/3 cups light corn syrup
Cut the fruit into six equal wedges through the stem end. Pull out the flesh of the fruit (the part we normally eat) and save for another use or a snack. Leave the pithy white underside of the skin in place.
Fill a large saucepot with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add the citrus peels to the boiling water. Keep the heat on high, and allow the water to return to a boil, stirring occasionally. As you wait for the water to boil, fill a large mixing bowl with ice water. Drain the peels from the boiling water in a colander, then plunge the peels into the ice water. (This is the first of three times you’re going to do all of this. But don’t get ahead of yourself – step 3 is a little bit different.)
Refill the saucepot with water and bring to a boil again. Drain the peels from the ice water, then again add them to the boiling water and wait for the water to return to a boil. Drain the peels again, and then again plunge them into a new bowl of ice water.
Refill the saucepot with water for a third time, and again bring to a boil over high heat. This time, while you are waiting for the water to boil, slice off about half of the thickness of the white pith from each piece of citrus peel. It’s best to use a thin, sharp, flexible knife to do this, such as a fillet knife. Discard the slices of pith.
Place the peels in the boiling water for a final time, and again return the water to the boil, then drain the peels from the boiling water and plunge them into the ice water. Drain them from the ice water when cooled.
Now it’s time to candy the peels. Stir together the sugar, water and corn syrup in a large saucepot. Place the pot over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Meanwhile, cut 2 rounds of parchment paper slightly wider than the circumference of the pot. When the sugar syrup comes to a boil, add the citrus peels and bring back to a simmer. Cover the peels with the 2 sheets of parchment paper, to keep them submerged in the sugar syrup. Adjust the heat to low or medium-low to maintain a bare simmer. Cook until the pith is soft and the peel begins to look translucent, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the citrus peels to cool in the sugar syrup, at room temperature overnight, with the parchment paper in place and undisturbed.
The next day, transfer the citrus peels and syrup to an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator. The candied peels will keep indefinitely.
For an extra special treat:
While you can use the candied citrus peels just as they are for recipes like the Chocolate-Orange Whoopie Pies, they’re really, especially lovely all on their own, dusted with sugar. To do this, first remove the peels from the syrup. Rinse off the syrup in cool running water. Slice the pieces lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Place a wire cooling rack over a parchment paper or foil-lined sheet pan, then arrange the strips of candied citrus over the rack. Leave them at room temperature overnight, or until dry. Place granulated sugar in a bowl. Add the dried peel, a few strips at a time, and toss to coat evenly with sugar. Store in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place (but not in a refrigerator).