Growing up, my grandmother Iris always made candied citrus peels. Never one to waste anything, it was her way of using up every last bit of her fruit. As a child I found her candied peels a little too bitter for my palate, and so I had never thought of making my own. I happened to run across some in one of my favorite stores the other day and was inspired to revisit the idea. I began by scrubbing six navel oranges, slicing the tops and bottoms off, scoring along the peel several times, and carefully removing the rind and pith. I then sliced the peels into quarter inch strips and put them in a sauce pan and covered them with cold water. I brought that mixture to a boil, then drained and rinsed them, and repeated this process two more times. (This blanching removes the bitterness from the peels, and makes for a nice finished texture. I was concerned with the level of bitterness and so I went ahead and blanched three times, but I found that in the end I actually would have liked a little bit more bitterness, so in the future I might opt to only blanch them twice.) After the last blanching, I drained the peels and set them aside. In the sauce pan I whisked together six cups of sugar and two cups of water, and brought that to a boil and simmered the syrup for about ten minutes. I then added the peels to the sugar syrup and gently simmered them for about one hour, or until the edges were translucent. I drained them (reserving the syrup for use in orange iced tea and flavored cocktails) and took half of the peels and individually rolled each in granulated sugar and set them on a piece of parchment paper. The other half I laid out on a wire cooling rack set over a sheet pan. Allow them both to dry over night. This morning, I melted good quality dark chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, until it was nice and smooth. I then dipped each of the non sugar rolled strips of peel into the chocolate, and lined them up on a sheet of parchment paper to dry. And there you have it. They are sweet and ever so slightly sour, with a little edge of delicious orangey bitterness. The chocolate and orange pair together beautifully and make for a decadent little treat. (In fact, I can imagine that they would also make the perfect garnish for the top of an orange chocolate cake!) Wrapped up in a little cellophane bag, tied up with raffia, I can’t imagine a better hostess gift, or little holiday treat. Enjoy!