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LiveSTRONG and kick ass

Recipe: candied lemon slices


Despite being insanely busy and turning down a lot of fun, exciting opportunities and events this month (only because I’m doing a ton of other fun, exciting things already!), I promised myself that I would participate in Barbara‘s annual LiveSTRONG: With a Taste of Yellow event. This is important to me, not because I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, but because I know a lot of people who had or have cancer. I have lost beautiful friends and family to cancer. And just last night, I learned that someone who saved my life is fighting for his own right now – fighting cancer. Barbara holds this food and wine blogging event each year in support of The Lance Armstrong Foundation to raise cancer awareness around the world. Last year was the first time I participated.

So if you want to participate there is still time (Barbara has extended the submission date to September 18th). Whip up something yellow – be it savory or sweet, and hop over to Barbara’s page for instructions on how to be a part of LiveSTRONG: With a Taste of Yellow. My submission is past the jump.


I’m in the middle of the “getting to know you” period with my new camera. I haven’t taken it out for serious shooting yet, but I have managed to screw around a bit. Of course, the inaugural photo had to be Kaweah.

our sleep olympian hard at work on her exhausting training regimen

But you didn’t see the first few captures because I always shoot in RAW and my software was not compatible (i.e. it’s OLD) with the latest Adobe RAW version. After yet another upgrade (phase 4 now complete), we are now cooking with gas! I jumped from CS2 to CS4 (sorry CS3, never knew ya) and I like it so far… as long as it doesn’t require a desktop upgrade because we have all of $.52 to our names now.

the last of the harebells

the local stands are still predominantly green

Our nights are flirting with frosts again and it is starting to smell like autumn. I have apples on the brain too! Okay, but we have just under two weeks left of summer, so let’s not shortchange anyone.

organic lemon

Ever since I visited Seth Ellis Chocolatier a few weeks ago, I have had a minor obsession with candied lemon slices. I’ve candied orange peels out the hoohah, but only candied lemon slices twice. The first time was by accident and the second time was a complete failure. I tweeted with Rick (@ricklevine) about the recipe they use. It takes 3 weeks! I don’t have 3 weeks to candy lemon slices right now. Then Rick said I could just “boil the *%&# out of some citrus for a couple of hours”. So that’s what I did.

thin slices

I blanched the slices in boiling water and then dumped them in ice water per the instructions on Martha’s page. My orange peel recipe blanches the peels three times, but I was afraid if I did that, there would be nothing left of the lemon slices except the rinds.


Once the slices were out of the ice water, I boiled a pan of sugar syrup. Martha says 1:1 water to sugar, my orange peel recipe says 1:3 water to sugar. I compromised with 1:2 water to sugar and let the slices simmer for an hour.

talk about hot sweetness

Based on prior experience, I should have let the lemons simmer for up to 2 hours. At just over 1 hour of simmering, I think my slices tend to be more gooey and harder to handle (because they don’t dry completely).

draining off the excess sugar

I let the slices dry for about 24 hours on a cooling rack over a baking sheet to catch all of the sugar drips. They look like little glass ornaments (I was going to say they look like candy, but… they ARE candy – durrrr). Tempering a batch of semi-sweet chocolate, I dipped half of the slices and left the rest plain. These are gorgeous and delicate confections – chewy, sweet, lemony, but not bitter (the blanching remedies that, I believe). I think I love the combination of lemon and dark chocolate more than the previous reigning champion combo of orange and dark chocolate. Definitely going into the handmade gifts arsenal.

chocolate-dipped and delectable

These candied lemon slices are my contribution to Barbara’s roundup for the LiveSTRONG: With a Taste of Yellow event.

great as a garnish, but perfectly lovely on its own

Candied Lemon Slices
[print recipe]
adapted from Martha Stewart and Culinary School of the Rockies

1-3 organic lemons, washed
water for boiling
ice water
2 cups sugar (you could increase this to 3 cups – I haven’t tried that with the lemons yet)
1 cup water
tempered chocolate for dipping (optional)

Cut the lemons into thin slices (not too thin or else they tear apart too easily) removing seeds and the ends. Bring water to a boil in a saucepan and blanch the lemon slices for about a minute. Drain the lemon slices and plunge them into a bath of ice water. Drain. Meanwhile, combine the sugar and 1 cup of water in a large saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a simmer and add the lemon slices. Let simmer (don’t boil) for an hour (you can simmer as much as 2 hours). Remove slices from hot sugar syrup and set on a cooling rack over a baking sheet to dry. Could take up to 24 hours to dry. Dip in tempered dark chocolate and set on parchment paper until chocolate has cooled and firmed up.

78 nibbles at “LiveSTRONG and kick ass”

  1. charlane says:

    so pretty and delicate looking

  2. Danielle says:

    Your pictures look amazing – what camera do you use? I just downloaded the trial version for CS4 and am playing around with it, but it’s a steep learning curve! And $%#^ expensive too :/

  3. Kristin says:

    Don’t think I’ve ever seen a dog work so hard at sleeping! Has she gone pro yet, or is she still an amateur? The lemons are gorgeous. I just love that shot of the dripping one. The simmering shot made me think of jellyfish. Do you recommend keeping the slices as separate as possible while simmering? I’m guessing they might get stuck together if they overlap.

  4. joey says:

    They are gorgeous! They do look like delicate glass ornaments and yes they would make an awesome gift!

    I try to join a Taste of Yellow every year…thanks for the update on the extended deadline!

  5. barbara says:

    Jen these are beautiful. So pretty and delicate. I love them. I’m so pleased you were able to join in despite your busy month. Thank you. Hugsxxoo

  6. Mysticmeg says:

    The outdoor picture with the new camera is just wonderful…I want to visit friends in Colorado Springs but has not worked out yet this year. The Garden of the Gods is just amazing and I took so many beautiful pictures. Colorado is a fun State but I enjoy photography in Texas when it is not 110 degrees in the shade. You at least have cool days to work in. Thanks for the site.

  7. Rosa says:

    A great participation! That picture with the forrest is stunning and the one with the lemon slice and chopsticks is amazing! Wow, you are extremely talented!

    Cheers and have a wonderful weekend,


  8. Judy says:

    Ok, seriously, how much would you charge for a print of the lemon slice with syrup drop? It’s beyond fabulous. Please send an email with the information, if you don’t mind.

  9. Cate says:

    Seriously…these photos are AMAZING! I’d frame them and put them on my wall!

  10. Tartelette says:

    Love the last shot!! Mini lemon constuction thingie!!
    Love lemon and chocolate…beautimus!

  11. Miriam/The Winter Guest says:

    I’ve been following your beautiful blog for a while, but I think I never commented before. I have to do it today to tell you that the quality of your photos improves everyday! How far are you going to get? :-)

  12. yun says:

    wow, this is seriously lovely…I will have to try after the dissertation thing…

  13. haya says:

    gorge! i can’t even imagine how delicious they must be. i just might have to try this out!!

  14. Debs says:

    So sorry to hear about your cancer. Those photos are amazing, I need to improve my photographic skills, especially as I have not yet had one submission accepted by Tastespotting. I now have a new camera and am practising. I just may participate in this too, if I can think of anything yellow LOL

  15. Fiona says:

    Item #1 on my list for Christmas confectionery this year. Lovely.

  16. kt says:

    Wow, lemons that look like lace!

  17. JessW says:

    Oh, I can’t wait to make and give these at the holidays this year! Lovely~

  18. Kristina says:

    Stunning! The lemon slice with the drop of syrup is freakin’ amazing. Someday I’d love to see a technical post on how you get shots like that.
    Today is the first day I’ve heard of the “Taste of Yellow” event and suddenly I’m seeing it everywhere. If I can get my butt in gear I’ll try and participate.

  19. Kalyn says:

    What a lovely entry for A Taste of Yellow. Your photos are just beautiful.

  20. Sharon Miro says:

    OMG! OMG! I can taste each one of them…so freaking beautiful!! HOW did you shoot the slices on black?

  21. keiko says:

    Everything looks SO beautiful, Jen! (and your doggie is adorable!) I wish I could taste those gorgeous slices right now.

  22. Margie says:

    Well, I know what I will be doing when I return home….thanks, Jenzie. I went ape-chit last year over all things, fruited. This year promises to be about the same. I’m still drooling over those orange slices. My sister said they were out of this world. I had to agree. :)

  23. Kitt says:

    Oh, I must do this. And what if you added some mint to that syrup? Might be too many flavors, but I’ve got mint infusions on my mind. Are the slices good without chocolate?

    Was on a futile quest this morning for curry leaves to make chivda. Sadly on the wrong side of town (but I would think Thai markets would have them, wouldn’t you?). Anyway, mojitos are on tonight’s menu.

  24. Chez Us says:


    OH MY, these shots are amazing! Love the sugar dripping off of the lemon slices; I want to put my wide open mouth under it! Now that citrus season is around the corner I need to think about doing these recipes.


  25. christina says:

    oh, wow, these are incredible and much easier than the candied orange peels. i like how the slices look like glass after completely set.

  26. Becky from MN says:

    Just wanted to let you know that the photo of lemons coming out of the sugar syrup with the drip coming down is just AWESOME – and then the black background with the candied slices is really nice to.

    On my way to work this morning in North Central Minnesota I was looking at the maples thinking they should be more red and orange this week then they are – maybe next week we’ll see more fall colors peaking out.

  27. Hillary says:

    Your pictures are beautiful. The lemon peels look like glass creations! And good move dipping them in chocolate :)

  28. Stephanie Brown says:

    Lemon slice with droplet… FREAKIN AMAZING for sure! Jen, you have inspired me to create things in my kitchen I wouldn’t ordinarily try…

    LOVE your blog, love your lifestyle, love YOU! Livestrong for sure, chickie.

  29. nico says:

    Love the last picture, fantastic, thanks

  30. farmerpam says:

    Lovely pics, esp. the one of the slice with the drip. Will mentally file this recipe for the holidays….thanks!

  31. Kirsa says:

    I actually tried my hand a few weeks earlier at candies orange slices (like these !)
    they are pretty hard to dry… i had to do mine for a few hours in the oven.
    but the reward was just around the corner – i offered these as a fancy wedding gift, and they were litterally devoured in a few days (I had a box of about 50 something half slices, and more than 70 peels)
    you will make friends very quickly with these !

    and I dipped them in dark chocolate too :)
    I shall have to try with lemon now I guess :)

    what is really good, is what is left of the syrup at the end. it’s like marmelade. I’m anxioux to try to make a cake with mine !

  32. peabody says:

    Um, yeah. That last photo is so freaking cool!

  33. Syin says:

    Oh wow, those do look so beautiful – like glass ornaments!

  34. Allysinnia says:

    Wow, those are gorgeous photos! I bet you could sell prints of the thunderhead building and of the macro on the harebells. What is your camera? I didn’t see if you mentioned it.

    Also, I have a recipe that calls for steeping the lemon slices (tho it is just for the peels) in room temperature water for three days, changing out the water every day, to get rid of any lingering bitterness from the peel. They end up so sweet, like a lemon candy. Do yours have any lingering bitterness or does the blanching take care of it?

  35. Allysinnia says:

    *cough* Never mind the thing with blanching, I’m apparently just an idiot who can’t read…

  36. Rosmarina says:

    Wow, the 5th and the last lemon candies photos are just GORGEOUS! I love this recipe… And your blog! I love above all the Pistachio and Chocolate Biscotti recipe… Just made! XD

  37. Abby says:


    I’m totally doing this at Christmas.

  38. Aran says:

    wow… those lemons sparkle almost like diamonds under your camera and the photo of the sunset… my goodness. so vibrant! great entry for a great cause jen!

  39. Manisha says:

    Did you use a flash on the last pic? If so, you bad bad bad girl! Breaking all rules of food photography! ;-)
    What lemons did you use? I’ve begged for a bushel of meyer lemons from a friend’s tree.

  40. Asianmommy says:

    Beautiful pictures! I love the lemon dipped in chocolate–yum!

  41. Caitlin says:

    I love the jewel-like transparency! And the instructions you were given :P Oh, and thank you for constantly giving me things to point out to my boyfriend so he goes “Oh wow, that’s gorgeous – where is that?” and I can answer with “Boulder!” Little by little, I’ll convince him… :)

  42. Mrs Ergül says:

    All your lemon makes such great photos in this post! I hope I have time to post something up for this great cause too! Take care Jen! xxoo

  43. Ruth says:

    These and your orange peels are just to die for!!! love the citrus with or without the dark chocolate…beautiful pictures!!!

  44. jenyu says:

    Thanks everyone! These candied slices are totally worth the trouble (if it’s not hot – if it’s hot, I don’t want to cook anything).

    Kristin – the Martha Stewart page says to keep them in a single layer, but honestly, I think it’s ok to overlap them because when you remove them from the syrup, they’re not stuck together (just really syruppy and drippy). Just take care that they don’t overcook into a giant mass.

    Barbara – anything for you, my dear :)

    Judy – will do.

    Tartelette – mini lemon construction thingy?!? ha ha ha!

    Miriam – you’re so sweet. I’ll take it as far as I can! :)

    Kristina – it’s easy (sort of). Have the camera ready on the tripod, focused and metered accordingly. Hold up the drippy slice and shoot several consecutive shots to get the right “drip”. I took about 8 exposures and this was the only one I liked.

    Sharon – I use black plexiglass.

    Margie – the orange and lemon slices are both heavenly!

    Kitt – don’t know… it might be good, might be not as good. You try it and tell me how it works out! :)

    Stephanie – you are such a sweetheart. Thank you.

    Kirsa – I’ve been wanting to try with orange slices too. Thanks for the tips!

    Allysinnia – I do sell prints of my nature photography :) That’s what I do. My new camera is the Nikon D3x, but I don’t use it for food photography unless I’m traveling with the D3x.

    Manisha – ha ha, I didn’t use flash in the last pic, but I COULD have and few would be the wiser! :) If you score meyer lemons, I’d loooooove to pinch a few from you!!

  45. Allison says:

    Your post is another nudge for me to make candied lemon slices. They’ve been filed under my “to make” list for quite a while now.

    And, I love your well placed use of the word “hoohah”. This word is a regular in my vocabulary, but I didn’t think other people actually used it too. :-)

  46. jie says:

    that picture with sugar dripping is amazing!!!

  47. Patricia Scarpin says:

    Can’t believe I missed it this year. What a shame.

    Love the recipe you chose, Jen – vibrant, fresh… Full of life.

  48. SallyBR says:

    Not sure if it is a problem on my side, but your link to the “Lance Armstrong Foundation” got me back on your own site. Just letting you know in case it is NOT a problem with my own computer…

    Loved your recipe….

  49. jenyu says:

    Sally – You were right – typo on my end. Thank you!

  50. SallyBR says:

    Glad to help! :-)

  51. Joy says:

    The lemons look SO beautiful, I could cry! Lovely photos…you are rocking that cam. :)

    Hopefully I can make something yellow this weekend and join you guys. I am actually waiting for a diagnosis, and trying hard not to freak out.

  52. Manisha says:

    Kitt, definitely need the chocolate. If nothing but to avoid a lot of sticky on one’s fingers. But I think it adds to it cos chocolate + candied lemon = heaven. And this is from someone who is not chocolate crazy.

    Jen, I said heaven. :-D Pure unadulterated heaven. Thank you for the treat. I did let D have a teeny bite. He agreed!

  53. Luney says:

    These look absolutely GORGEOUS! And not horribly complicated, either (of course, that could just be wishful thinking). I see you use chopsticks to fish the little darlings out of their sugary bath. Makes sense. I use chopsticks when making potato chips at home (when no one wants to go out and buy a bag of Lays). I bet this recipe could be adapted for candying limes, too. All that wonderful limey flavor, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Another lovely holiday gift idea. Must remember these.

    Thank you for posting!

  54. jenyu says:

    Joy – thanks, but the lemons were shot with the same old camera I’ve been using for the past 3 years. I’m not shooting food photos with the d3x…

  55. deeba says:

    I’m left gobsmacked. BEAUTIFUL indeed, and gorgeous pictures! I love the pic of candy dripping…

  56. Susan says:

    Thanks. I wonder about blanching the whole fruit twice and then slicing and blanching the slices once. I did grapefruit peels yesterday dipped in bitter choc and they are so good. One tip I can add is: if you have an oven with a dehydrating setting, a couple hours in there on each side dries them out a good bit (after they have been drying naturally overnight) if they need it.

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  58. Mary says:

    Fantastic recipe, fanastic photography! I am thinking of cutting mine into small pieces and using them as fillers and toppers for my home made chocloates. I have several different-shaped moulds and one has a little ‘dip’ in it at the top -ideal for a little piece of candied fruit!

  59. Mary says:

    oops! I meant to write chocolates!!!

  60. Mary says:

    Double oops -I meant fantastic photography – you see what you’ve done – one little recipe has put me in a real spin!

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  62. stephany n. says:

    simply marvelous.

    pictures and candied lemons are brilliant.
    cant wait to try it out

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  64. Snip Snip says:

    Dear god these look so good. I cannot be on here when Im hungry. Its torture.

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  66. tia says:

    hi, just wanted ot let you know i tried these out and they were bomb. took a while too dry them things but my family and friends loved them. thanks

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  69. pixipanda says:

    These look so wonderful! And I have a tree full of Meyers lemons needing some sort of use. (Freezer’s still full of juice from the last crop.) One thing I couldn’t find the answer to is storage: Do you think they’ll keep for a couple of weeks? Do they need to be refrigerated? I’d like to make them as Christmas gifts, but I’m hoping not to have to do it last minute. No need to make the season more stressful, right? :)

    Thank you for sharing!

  70. jenyu says:

    pixipanda – yes, they should keep for a month at least. I probably wouldn’t refrigerate them, just keep them in a sealed container at room temperature (but don’t let them get hot).

  71. dana says:


  72. MikeD says:

    I just finish making them and they turned out tasting so much like the uncooke version ! Bad :( but pretty

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  77. Deborah says:

    Can I ask how do I store these if I’m not dipping them in chocolate and how long will keep in the fridge?

  78. Deborah says:

    Don’t worry, got my answer, thanks.

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