Candied citrus zest makes a beautiful, edible garnish for summer desserts by brightening up baked fruit and lending zing to fresh berries. It also makes a damn fine addition to cocktails, and is the secret ingredient in my rosemary lemonade cake.
The key to making candied citrus zest is extracting all of the bitter flavor imparted by the pith (the white, inner part of the peel). Since it's nearly impossible to remove the pith completely, the best way to get the bitter out is blanching the zest three times, by dropping it into boiling water to release the bitterness, then shocking it with ice water to stop the cooking (and repeat, and repeat).
This process may sound like a pain, but when you set yourself up with two pots, the blanching process just takes ten minutes. The final step, simmering the zest in simple syrup until it has absorbed the sugar, requires little attention. And best of all, candied citrus peel can be stored in the fridge for over a month, so you can make a lot at once and use it as needed.
See all the steps in the slideshow, then get the recipe »
Plus, get the recipe for Rosemary Lemonade Cake »