Cold Candied Oranges

This is my take on a recipe of Gabrielle Hamilton that appeared in the New York Times Magazine of January 20th, 2020

Atlanta,GA, 02/22/2020<br />
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-<br />
NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


• 6 firm, juicy, seedless oranges with thin skins and not bigger than a baseball. Seedless is VERY important.   I followed Ms. Hamilton’s suggestion and used Cara Cara oranges.

• 6 cups granulated sugar (*)

• 6 cups water (*)

• A stainless-steel or enameled pot large enough to hold the oranges completely submerged.

• A lid, slightly smaller than the diameter of the pot.

• A good sharp channeler.  (**)

• Parchment paper.

• A thermometer capable of reading past 212 degrees Fahrenheit. (The thermometer is not essential, but helps a lot!)

Atlanta,GA, 02/22/2020<br />
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-<br />
NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


1. Cut the parchment paper into a circle about one inch larger in diameter than the diameter of the pot.

2. Bring the pot of water to a boil. This is NOT the water referred to in the ingredients.

3. Wash and dry the oranges, and channel from stem to navel at around 1/2-inch intervals, removing just the strips of peel while leaving the pith intact. Be careful here: leaving the pith intact helps prevent the oranges from splitting.

4. Place the oranges and the long threads of channeled peel into the boiling water and reduce to a simmer. Cover the oranges with the smaller lid to ensure they are completely submerged. Weight the lid down if necessary (I used a metal meat tenderizer). Blanch them in this way for about 25 minutes. This removes the harshest edge of their bitter nature. The oranges should swell and soften but not collapse or split.

5. Remove the oranges and zest from the simmering water with a slotted spoon and set aside.

6. Dump out the blanching water, and return the dry pot to the stove.

7. In that same pot combine the sugar with 6 cups water (*).

8. Bring the sugar water to a boil over medium-high, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Let it boil gently for a further 10-12 minutes to let the syrup take on a bit of body.

9. Carefully place the blanched oranges and zest into the sugar syrup.

10. Reduce heat to a very slow simmer.

11. Place the parchment circle on top of the oranges then place the too-small lid on top of the parchment circle. Again, it is important that the oranges are completely submerged in to syrup under the parchment paper.

12. Monitor the simmering syrup carefully. Ideally you would want it to remain in the 170 to 180 degree range, but to keep the slow simmer it may be necessary to raise the temperature occasionally to regain the sluggish bubbles. ( If you do not have a thermometer, the very slow bubbling is a reasonable indication.)

13. Cook the oranges in this manner for about 45 to 50 minutes until they take on a high gloss and appear vaguely translucent and jewel-like.

14. Cool oranges and peels in their syrup for at least four hours and until they are no longer warm to the touch.   This slow cooling is important and I would not recommend hastening it by placing the pot in a cold-water bath.  Then place oranges and syrup into the fridge. I really recommend you do this for 48 hours before serving.     You can serve the oranges after about 8 hours, but trust me on this one: the oranges served after the 48 hours are orders of magnitude better and more flavorful.

15. Remove the oranges and syrup from the fridge just before serving. Take the oranges from the syrup with a slotted spoon and place on a serving plate. Remove the strips of peel with tongs, gently shake off any excess syrup, and arrange decoratively around the oranges.

16. Eat the whole orange, skin and all, with a knife and fork. It’s like a half glacéed fruit and half fresh fruit: really refreshing and so great after dinner, leaving a full, deep orange flavor in the mouth.

17. The oranges last refrigerated for 1 month as long as they remain submerged in their syrup.


(*) The recipe refers to 6 cups of water and 6 cups of sugar. However, depending on the pot you use this amount may not be sufficient to cover the oranges entirely. So you can increase the amount of water & sugar you use but keep them in the 1:1 ratio (a cup of sugar for each cup of water). You can get an estimate of how much water you will need by measuring the amount of water used for the first boiling.

(**) A channeler is NOT the same as a zester: a channeler cuts grooves in the skins of citrus fruits. An example could be found at

Good type of channeler

One needs to cut the channels or grooves reasonably wide (see the photo above) so a channeler that cuts in a V-shape (such as Not so good channeler ) would not work.

Atlanta,GA, 02/22/2020<br />
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-<br />
NonCommercial 4.0 International License.