I set out to make two kinds of cupcakes for a family who came to dinner on Sunday. (They were VERY nice company. They laughed a lot and weren't scared to actually make real interesting conversation despite the fact we had just met.) Orange Dream and Key Lime. Key Limes are their own kind of animal, so this is all about my orange concoctions. I'm pretty excited because they turned out great! And I created the recipe on my own. The cupcake itself tasted like an Orange Creamsicle, but filled with Orange Marmelade and topped with Cream Cheese Frosting and candied orange peel, they were better. Our company (one of whom is a self confessed food snob) really liked them. :) That's the best part of baking- when people get happy from eating it. And for extra fun I'm posting my recipe for Candied Orange Peels. They are super tasty and fun to make. (Who am I kidding, everything is fun to make!) Plus they make the kitchen smell like that old fashioned orange peel potpourri that Christmas Fairs sometimes smell like.
Candied Orange Peels
Peel an orange with a vegetable peeler and put the peels in a pan of cold water. Heat the pan until the water is boiling. Let them boil for about 3 minutes. (The orange water smells great and you can save it for linen spray to keep your towels and sheets smelling orange and fresh) Drain quickly and place in cold water. When the peels are cool enough to touch, drain them and pat them dry on paper towels. The next part is probably the most extensive part. Take a knife and scrape/slice off the white part that is normally closest to the fruit. Make sure you get all of it off. If you leave the slightest part on, the candy will be bitter. After they are all scraped, cut the peel into the shapes you want your candies to be. I usually cut them into thin strips so they look nice on a cupcake. You can cut them into fun shapes with kitchen scissors too, if you want. In the same pan you boiled the peels in before, mix 1/4 cup of water with 1/2 cup of sugar. Heat until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is boiling. Add the peels to the syrup and boil them until they become transluscent. Then spoon them out of the syrup and roll in sugar. Place them on paper towels to dry. You can then use them to top cupcakes, cookies, muffins, or just to eat on their own.