The view outside my kitchen window is a black and white photograph…white snow, black outlines of trees and a gray sky. And though that isn’t always such a bad thing, today I just had to inject a little color into my life. Wishing to trade black turtlenecks and khaki trousers for a pair of flip flops and shorts, I looked for inspiration in the refrigerator (it’s what food people do) and believe it or not, my salvation lay there in the crisper drawer in the form of naval oranges. Just looking at them made me happy. So, I made caramel oranges, a super easy dessert- breakfast-snack that I love, love, love. They are tart and sweet with juicy orange flavor with a touch of browned sugar sweetness to brighten them just so. I like this dish best when it has been in the refrigerator for a few hours. The brittle caramel melts and makes a caramelly sauce that you’ll want to slurp up directly from the platter. This time, for a little zip, I added a touch of cardamom to the syrup right before drizzling. Though the sun hasn’t graced us with its presence for a few weeks, at least I have the taste of sunshine in my mouth. —chefcarla
Test Kitchen Notes
This recipe is a great combination of flavors and can be made at a moment's notice, but as chefcarla recommends, waiting for a couple hours is much better. When I first drizzled the caramel over the orange slices, it immediately hardened. Letting it sit allowed the caramel ‘candy’ to dissolve and mingle with the orange juice. The second time I made it, I also added a very tiny pinch of salt to balance any potential bitterness and a little shake of ground cinnamon. Sublime! I served it over vanilla frozen yogurt for a colorful dessert, and the combination of the orange, caramel and cardamom with cream and vanilla flavors was just perfect. I suggest, however, starting with ½ the recommended cardamom if your cardamom is a brand-new-freshly opened bottle of pods. An overdose of cardamom here can bring in a bitter flavor. —TheWimpyVegetarian
Peel the oranges by cutting off the top and bottom to make them flat and then slicing around the circumference of the orange with a sharp knife, cutting away the peel and white pith. Then cut the orange crosswise into about 6 sections and lay them out on a platter.
Add the sugar and water to a saucepan and swirl over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Do not stir. Turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once the syrup is boiling, cook it for about 5 minutes or until the syrup has browned to a rich caramel color. It will be very bubbly. Watch it closely as there is only a minute between sublime and burned. Add the cardamom seeds and swirl them to combine and drizzle the syrup over the oranges. Serve immediately or let sit in the refrigerator for a few hours so that the oranges macerate and make a caramel syrup.