I discovered orange blossom flavor for the first time at this new French bakery that I’m working at, Un Je Ne Sais Quoi (more on that later). They have orange blossom flavor meringue cookies, and surprisingly, those are my favorite cookies that they sell. I’m not a big fan of orange-flavored sweets, all because of a bad experience I had with a chocolate orange in the third grade.
But anyway. I was browsing this spice shop yesterday and I saw a bottle of orange blossom water. A lightbulb went off. “What if I make orange blossom oatmeal?” I thought to myself. I’ve made rose water oatmeal before, and that turned out pretty well. I thought I could carry on the blossom party with this new combination.
I bounced some ideas off one of the employees at the spice store who has cooked with orange blossom water before. I thought about putting orange zest on top, but he suggested that I try making candied orange peel. So I decided to try to make it last night.
It turned out well for the most part. You have to be really careful when you’re candying anything, I discovered, because too much movement in the pan means that the mixture will start to crystallize. But if you’re careful and keep an eye on things, the fruit peel will start to look glassy and shiny and will eventually turn translucent. Once the peels dry for a few hours, they turn into a delicious fruit candy.
I topped the oatmeal with some sea salt dark chocolate and shredded coconut. I would highly suggest this combo. I love having an excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast, and this is a great one.
Here’s a good oatmeal-eating track.
Orange Blossom Oatmeal with Candied Orange Peel (from me, to you) (candied orange peel DIY from Bright Eyed Baker)
For the candied orange peels:
3 navel or valencia oranges
1½ cups granulated sugar
¾ cup water
For the oatmeal (serves 1):
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1 cup water
1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 tbsp orange blossom water
1 tbsp agave syrup or maple syrup
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
Roughly chopped sea salt dark chocolate and shredded coconut for topping
The night before you make the oatmeal, make the candied orange peels. Firt, rinse the oranges. Cut the top and bottom off each orange and score the skin into quarters. Remove the skin (peel and pith, the white part), and cut the skin into strips about ¼” wide. Wrap the oranges in plastic wrap to store for other use.
Place the strips of peel in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Set on the stove on high heat and bring to a boil. Drain the water from the peels and repeat this process twice more.
In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and ¾ cup water. Pour the sugar water into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Let the mixture cook for 8-9 minutes at a constant simmer.
Add the peel and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, adjusting heat as necessary to maintain the simmer. Avoid stirring, as this will cause crystallization. If necessary, swirl the pan to make sure that all of the peels get covered with the syrup. At the end of this period, the peels should be translucent.
Drain any remaining syrup from the peels and set aside. There will probably be only a tablespoon or two of syrup left. Spread the peels out on a drying rack and leave to dry for 4-5 hours. Store in an airtight container.
To make the oatmeal, combine the steel cut oats and the water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and then lower heat so the mixture comes to a slow simmer. Let simmer about 15-20 minutes, or until the oats have cooked and the mixture thickens up. Then, mixed in the agave, cinnamon, almond milk and orange blossom water. Return to the heat for a minute or two to heat up the mixture.
Remove from heat and top with shredded coconut, roughly chopped sea salt dark chocolate and a few of the candied orange peels. Enjoy!