Thursday, December 24, 2009



Well, it’s Christmas Eve. And when they say “not a creature was stirring” they really do mean it. The subways this morning were empty, almost abandoned. On my way to work, the city streets were quiet, and the air just hung still. For the first time in a long time, we have snow in New York on Christmas. It feels very appropriate.

bright, pretty oranges

I don’t care what anyone says, but I’ve been listening to holiday music since Thanksgiving ended. I can’t help myself. I also can’t get enough of these orangettes; I’ve been eating them as fast as I’ve been making them, which poses a problem since I was planning to give them away as gifts. Come January 1, I’ll have to draft some resolutions: and eating fewer sweets will certainly be one of them.

But orangettes are pretty much a must when there’s little but citrus in the way of fruit that excites. After you eat your orange or grapefruit, or use your lemon, the peel, the glorious, fragrant, delicious peel, remains and I can’t seem to throw it out. I gather a few fruits’ worth of peels in a small bag and then candy them when I have a little bit of time.


While I have a recipe for candied orange peel here, don’t let that be a limiting factor. There are lemons, and grapefruit, and clementines, and blood oranges, just to name a few. And when there’s so little greenery around us, these yellow and orange orbs brighten any room, cheer up any day. While I’m woefully late on suggesting you give these orangettes out as Christmas gifts (and since I’ve eaten all mine, I didn’t even follow my own advice), you can still make them for a New Year’s party. Or if you’re Russian – you can give them as a New Year’s gift to friends and family. They’re like little bursts of sunshine in your mouth and while cookies and cakes and brittle and candied nuts are all excellent, sometimes all you crave is a bite of citrus, gently mellowed by dark chocolate. At least that’s what I’m craving now.


I hope those of you celebrating Christmas have a wonderful and joyous holiday! And those of you who, like me, will be indulging in some Chinese food and a movie tomorrow, have excellent feasts as well. Wherever you are, and whatever you do, I wish you a very happy, warm, healthy holiday weekend filled with friends, family, love and a little bit of sunshine, be it actual sunshine, or the kind that comes wrapped in shiny cellophane bursting with citrus, chocolate and frosted with sugar.


4 large oranges
1 cup water
3 cups sugar + 1 cup sugar, divided
16 oz dark chocolate


1. Slice the ends off of the oranges, score the peel from one end to the other, and remove the peels off. Next, slice the peels into thin strips, trimming the edges.Take the 1 cup of sugar and pour it into a metal bowl and set it aside – you’ll need it later.

2. Place 2 medium sized pots on the stove and bring both to a boil. Place the peels in boiling water into the first pot, and blanch the peels for a few minutes. Rinse the peels, and repeat the blanching process a second time with pot number 2 (you can definitely stick with using just one pot, but the 2 pot method saves you time!). Also, blanching is very important – it is done to remove the bitterness of the peels, so do not skip these steps.

3. While you’re blanching the second time, prepare the simple syrup in the first pot that’s now empty. Combine the water and the 3 cups sugar the empty pot and bring the syrup to a simmer. Place the peels in the pot, and simmer for 1 hour, covered.

4. Once the peels have cooked, remove them from the pot, and place on a rack to cool and drain.

5. When the peels have cooled, drop a few at a time into a bowl with 1 cup of sugar in it and roll them in sugar until well-covered. Dry the peels in the open air for 1-2 days.

6. Melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler. Dip the candied orange peels halfway into the chocolate, remove them quickly. Place the chocolate covered peels on parchment lined cookie sheet to dry.

7. Serve the same day or place in cellophane baggies tied with a ribbon.

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  • 1

    Thank you for the sweet recipe, (I have always wondered how to make orangettes) ! I am a mixed-breed, so I get to celebrate a couple of holidays this month. Enjoy your Shanghai surprise, (well, that is my favorite anyway).
    xo Michaela

    December 24, 2009 10:16 am
  • 2
    Whitney said:

    Lovely Orangettes! Enjoy your chinese and movies tomorrow :)

    December 24, 2009 11:08 am
  • 3

    These look wonderful. I’m planning a sundae bar for new years eve and think these will make a great addition. Orangettes on top of dark chocolate ice cream with hot fudge! Yum!

    Have a wonderful day of Chinese food and enjoy the empty movie theatre (I love that!) tomorrow.

    December 24, 2009 2:52 pm
  • 4
    Ulla said:

    What a lovely post! Seasons greetings to you too! :)
    Those orange treats look fantastic! The photos are so gorgeous too! :)

    December 25, 2009 12:19 pm
  • 5

    These are super cool! I think I have had these before, and I have always wondered where they came from. Another mystery is history, my son always says!

    I think I will file this recipe to enjoy over the new year!

    December 27, 2009 8:09 am
  • 6

    I have never felt like making orangettes ever. Until now. Your photos make me want to run to the kitchen. I am so happy to have discovered your blog.. just followed you on twitter. I think I’m going to run to the ktichen now to make some rosemary ginger fizz..

    December 27, 2009 9:23 am
  • 7
    Barbara said:

    Love your orangettes! The photos make everything seem so simple to do. I’ve always loved them, too! Can’t wait to try them.

    December 27, 2009 11:20 am
  • 8
    Radish said:

    Purple Foodie & others – you just SERIOUSLY made my day!! I love reading everyone’s comments of excitement and wanting to make things. I hope you all have had a fantastic holiday weekend, whether or not you are celebrating!

    December 27, 2009 1:20 pm
  • 9
    Julia said:

    I love orangettes and I’m so delighted to see a recipe for them. Thanks!

    December 29, 2009 9:21 am
  • 10
    Kasey said:

    These are gorgeous. Happy New Year’s!

    December 29, 2009 4:35 pm
  • 11

    Pretty photos (especially the last one!) I haven’t made orangettes since my days at culinary school…. but your lovely post has inspired me to revisit them! Wishing you a fantastic 2010!

    December 29, 2009 5:43 pm
  • 12

    My family celebrates Christmas and Hanukkah – we celebrated Christmas eve and had Chinese food on Friday.
    Happy New Year!

    January 3, 2010 6:20 pm
  • 13

    […] Orangettes by Sassy Radish – This recipe hit me up by surprise. Imagine the taste of orange oils in your mouth, with a tiny touch of bitterness, coupled by sweet sugar, and the dark rich tones of chocolate. Do I have your mouth drooling yet? <wipes mouth with sleeve> […]

    January 9, 2010 7:51 am
  • 14
    shayma said:

    inspirational is what your blog is- wishing you a very happy new year- new decade! these orangettes are gorgeous as are the other treats on your blog, like the stuffed cabbage and merguez burgers. all beautifully photographed and with a write-up which i should actually not be reading whilst at work! but all the posts really are THAT good. orangettes just on their own, maybe with some sherry, that would be lovely. best wishes, shayma

    January 13, 2010 9:30 am
  • 15
    Radish said:

    Shayma – thank you so much for such kind words. I hope year is a lovely one for you, indeed!!

    January 13, 2010 1:33 pm
  • 16

    […] with cooking things like ice cream and pies and meatballs and cupcakes. You know how I am by now: show me shiny and I am all […]

    June 3, 2010 10:43 am
  • 17

    […] Orangettes […]

    April 29, 2011 12:08 pm
  • 18
    Amanda said:

    I’m going to make a batch of these today! Do they keep pretty well or do they have to be eaten soon? I’m hoping to put them in gift baskets I’m putting together. Thanks for sharing the recipe with us

    December 17, 2011 4:50 pm
  • 19
    Radish said:

    Amanda – these can last a couple of weeks. Hope that helps!!

    December 17, 2011 5:30 pm
  • 20

    […] delicious homemade gifts (I’m assuming because the interwebs are teeming with deliciousness): orangettes and spiced nuts; caramels and hazelnut crinkles; gingerbread and lemon sandwich cookies, just to […]

    December 21, 2012 3:33 pm

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