As much as a girl can love gin and tonics, sometimes you need to shake things up a bit. The easiest, and cheapest, way is through the addition of beautiful garnishes and a colorful, flavorful simple syrup. Making this recipe was a truly sensory experience, from the aromatic pot of simmering water, sugar, and orange slices to the resulting translucent slices that shone like stained glass when held to the light. Make it at the end of winter, when fresh citrus is readily available, as both the infused syrup and the candied slices can be stored for several months. Then, come June, dig them out from the back of your fridge and take a simple cocktail to a whole new level.
After reading "Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History," by Sidney W. Mintz, I got to thinking about the historical uses of sugar. Before it became accessible to the western masses, sugar was used by the elite as a spice, a medicine, and a preservative. Not having much of a sweet tooth, I rarely bake or use sugar at all. After a bit too much coffee and a few hours in the library, however, I came to the conclusion that it was time to change that. As much a culinary adventure as it was a time warp, this recipe was developed in order to use sugar like the European nobility of the 14th century intended it: to make blood oranges immortal.
This recipe is an amalgam of bits and pieces from numerous ones I found online. My major sources were:
A simple ingredients ratio from Grace Parisi: http://www.foodandwine...
The Repressed Pastry Chef's well illustrated instructions: http://therepressedpastrychef.blogspot.com/2008/07/candied-orange-slices.html
As well as those from Confessions of a Bright Eyed Baker: http://www.brighteyedbaker.com/confessions101/diy-candied-orange-peel/
And the idea of repurposing the syrup from Valerie Rice: http://eat-drink-garden.com/2013/12/candied-orange-slices/
And, finally, some helpful dehydration advice from a Chow Hound forum: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/673884 —Cannibalivia