Ok, full disclosure. These are kind of a pain in the ass to make. But, they can be made in advance and they keep for a while. And because they are a bit labor intensive, they serve as an excuse to make fancy cocktails for days on end. If you’re the type that needs excuses.
- 4 medium navel oranges
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups sugar
- Chunk of peeled, finely grated ginger root (I used about 4 inches)
Use a vegetable peeler to make beautiful, precise, pith-free strips of orange peel. Or, if you want to make a day of it and like things to be “rustic” looking, misplace your peeler, be too lazy to go buy a new one and painstakingly manually peel and de-pith a few oranges.
In a sauce pan over medium heat, add the water and sugar. Once the sugar dissolves, add the ginger and orange peels. Lower the temp and simmer for 45 minutes.
Now, here is where you have some choices:
A) You can forget that you have this reducing on the stove and walk away. Come back in a while and find that your creation has turned into a ginger/orange impenetrable shellack on your favorite sauce pan. Throw pan away, and start over.
B) Don’t forget you have this reducing on the stove, don’t walk away, and instead swirl the pan every few minutes to make sure the peels are evenly coated, and turn down the heat as the mixture reduces.
I strongly recommend option B.
Prepare a baking sheet with wire racks on it. Remove the scalding and sticky peels with your bare hands until you have burned your fingerprints into oblivion. Quickly Google if fingerprints grow back*. Switch to using an implement, such as a slotted spoon or a fork, to move the rest of the peels.
Sprinkle the peels with sugar. Now for the fun part. Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar/ginger coating on the orange peels. It should look like this (hopefully minus a few of the flames):
Let them sit for an hour or so, then store on a wax paper-lined Tupperware in the fridge.
Use as a garnish in a Holiday Old Fashioned.
*After suffering a 3rd degree burn, complete recovery of prints is not guaranteed.