5 Ingredients or Fewer

Caramel Oranges with Cardamom

January 31, 2011
2 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 4 navel oranges
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds, crushed
  1. 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.
  2. 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Superyalda
  • gingerroot
  • TheWimpyVegetarian
  • wssmom
  • mrslarkin

13 Reviews

PMK May 3, 2018
Phenomenal recipe that I will be making regularly during the winter months when fresh citrus abounds. I blended this recipe with Alice Medrich's, sprinkling the orange slices with a couple tablespoons (maybe a bit less) of rum, plus a couple drops of orange blossom water, and otherwise following this recipe. I let it chill for a couple of hours. Some of the caramel sauce was liquid, a bit was still hard and crunchy, which we all loved. It was just slightly boozy, floral, and cardamom-scented. We could have eaten 4 times what we had (started with 4 large navel oranges).
Superyalda January 24, 2014
I made these tonight and was slightly disappointed. I Caramelized the sugar to the same color as the picture but it was slightly too bitter. When I poured it over the orange slices, the syrup hardened so the oranges were locked together.
I put it in a sealed container and had to shake them a bit several times and wait for the sugar to dissolve into a syrup, but even then the syrup was just okay..
Sorry :( best to keep it real, right?
Maybe it's something I did?
gingerroot February 2, 2011
This looks really lovely. I look forward to making this.
TheWimpyVegetarian January 31, 2011
Love love this! I make orange salads often this time of year to take advantage of the sweetness of the at-peak-oranges available right now. This looks like another wonderful way to take advantage of them! Making this one this week for sure!!
chefcarla February 1, 2011
Another bonus is how your kitchen will smell after peeling the oranges. Better than a scented candle. I left the orange peelings in a bowl for a few hours. The smell was heavenly.
wssmom January 31, 2011
This sounds so simple and yummy! Can't wait to try it!
mrslarkin January 31, 2011
Love this!
hardlikearmour January 31, 2011
I bet these would be delightful on some vanilla Greek yogurt.
chefcarla January 31, 2011
That's a great idea. I think I have some in my fridge right now!
Table9 January 31, 2011
This is beautiful! Great job.
chefcarla January 31, 2011
Thanks, it's really simple and so refreshing after a full winter meal.
drbabs January 31, 2011
what a great idea!
chefcarla January 31, 2011
Cardamom is one of my favorite spices. As expensive as it is, it's nice to use it up quickly. We don't want it to go stale now would we?