These candied orange peels are an easy-to-make treat for any occasion, adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe. I picked up a bag of organic oranges for this, as I wanted to avoid using peels that may have wax or chemicals on them.
Martha says to take off all of the white pith of the orange rind before blanching and boiling in the sugar syrup. While it's a good idea to get as much of it off as you can, it's fine if some of it is left on. The slight bitterness of the bit of pith actually pairs very nicely with the sweetness of the sugar.
If you really want to go all out, you can dip the candied peels in melted dark chocolate (to create "orangettes") instead of rolling them in sugar.
Candied Orange Peels
4 oranges (organic are best)
4 cups sugar plus extra for rolling
4 cups water
1) Using a paring knife, make 6 slits along curve from top to bottom of each orange, cutting through peel but not into fruit. Using your fingers, gently remove peel. Reserve fruit for another use. Slice each piece of peel lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Again using a paring knife, remove excess pith from each strip and discard.
2) Place the strips in a large saucepan, and cover them with cold water. Bring them to a boil, then drain. Repeat this twice.
3) Bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring the mixture occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Then stop stirring and wash the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Add the strips to the boiling syrup, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until the strips are translucent (about 1 hour). Remove the pan from the heat, and let the strips cool in the syrup. (The strips in syrup will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 weeks.)
4) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the strips to a wire rack placed on a rimmed baking sheet. Wipe off any excess syrup with paper towels and then roll the strips in sugar. Arrange them in a single layer on a wire rack, and let them dry for at least 30 minutes. The sugared peels will keep, covered at room temperature, for up to 2 weeks.