Orange peels cooked in an aromatic syrup of sugar, water, and spices. These peels make an ideal gift for the holidays and a wonderful sweet to serve guests anytime.
Cut the oranges into quarters. Using a spoon, scoop out the fruit and set it aside. (After you pull off the fruit off of the tip of the peel using a spoon, you may be able to gently peel the rest of the fruit off of the peel with your fingers.) Leave as much of the white pith on the peel as possible.
Jen suggests slicing the peel quarters at this point into slices 1/4-inch thick or smaller. (Note: In one batch, I made the slices after the next step and a bit thicker, more like 1/3-inch thick and that worked better for me.)
Place the orange peels in a large saucepan (or pot) and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 3 minutes. Drain and repeat the process two more times, using fresh water each time. Do not skip this step or any part of it, as simmering the peels three times removes the bitterness from the peel.)
Clean the saucepan/pot thoroughly to remove any residual bitterness. Add the water, 2 1/2 cups of the sugar, the vanilla bean, peppercorns, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Reduce to a simmer and add the peel slices. Simmer on low heat, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes, until the slices become translucent, 1 1/2-2 hours.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and top with a cooling rack. Using tongs, remove the orange peels from the syrup, shake off any excess liquid, and transfer to the rack to finish draining. Let the candied orange peels dry overnight.
Toss with the remaining 1 cup sugar before serving.