Candied Mandarinquats with Bourbon and Ancho Chile

by autumn on February 11, 2012

I am currently under blankets and I am so not the cold girl. In fact, I pride myself in not being the cold girl. I’ve got some “uphill both ways” type of stories about cold. Did you know that school buses can’t run when it’s below -20 because their fuel turns solid? Stories that start like that and end with me walking home from the bus stop and trying to figure out how the hell to get to school. So it takes a little bit for me to complain about the cold.

This time of year, even in this mild winter, blanket time is medicinal and has nothing to do with body temp. I haven’t been getting enough vitamin D, that holiday that stresses out everyone is coming up, and there’s been some serious kitchen drama in my life this past week. Solidified salad dressing? Check. Oozing peanut butter pie? Definitely. Freakishly mushy sweet potato? That too.

The remedy for the February uglies is sometimes as simple as getting back into bed and when you get out—and you do need to get out—follow the words of a very wise man and “treat yo self.” Seriously though, buy yourself a present. Make it small, but make it good. I bought five little mandarinquats, four rangpur limes, and three bergamots at this crazy place. I felt a little bad about it afterwards (because, no, I didn’t really need fancy, over-priced citrus), but I’ve gotten so much joy out of them! Besides joy, I’ve gotten a rangpur lime syrup (+ cocktails), bergamot marshmallows, bergamot infused vodka, and these candied mandarinquats. Plus, there’s a small but precious batch of bergamot marmalade in the works.

As far as recipes go, this one barely qualifies. Candied citrus sounds quite fancy, but is just so darn easy. I cobbled together my own little technique after looking at a few of the many candied kumquat recipes that are out there. If you can’t get your hands on mandarinquats (and who can besides this guy) please consider this inspiration for your own candied citrus. We made a mean bourbon soda with a couple spoonfuls of this at the bottom of the glass. I’ve been imagining it over ricotta, but have been eating it straight out of the jar.

Candied Mardarinquats with Bourbon and Ancho Chile


  • 9 oz mardarinquats
  • 2 T bourbon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 t (or more to taste) ancho chile powder

Cooking Directions

  1. Wash and slice mandarinquats into about 1/8 inch thick little wheels, removing the seeds as you go. Discard seeds and set fruit aside. (If you're not sure if your citrus is organic, dump boiling water over it and scrub it well before working with it.)
  2. Combine bourbon, water, and sugar in small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil.
  3. Add mandarinquats and ancho chile and return to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the peels are translucent and liquid is syrupy, about 25-30 minutes. Your eye is more important than the clock here, as cooking time varied widely in the recipes that I looked at.
  5. Taste and add more ancho chile if you'd like. I ended up adding closer to 1/2 t.
  6. Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate.


Autumn Giles is the creator of Autumn Makes & Does and the co-host of the Alphabet Soup Podcast.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristen » February 11, 2012 at 11:48 pm

“treat yo self” = the most love ever.


2 emily | nomnivorous February 12, 2012 at 12:01 am

February has indeed been an ugly month. Your citrus love makes me very happy.

And bergamot marshmallows?! You know I couldn’t let that slip by. Oh, how loverly! How’d you infuse the flavor?


3 autumn February 12, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Emily, I used the bergamot juice in the gelatin soaking liquid added the zest in at the end, after it was all whipped. As I am sure you know from your marmalade marshmallows, the zest made for some nice little chewy bits.


4 tigress February 12, 2012 at 7:38 am

…so this would be perfect on a spoon heading straight for my mouth. I think you just crossed the finish line of the 2012 citrus love season. this looks awesome! and so do your photos.


5 autumn February 12, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Tigress, Cozy Herbivore, and Kristen, Thanks so much!


6 The Cozy Herbivore February 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm

I love the addition of the ancho chili– seems like that little bit of heat and smoke would really offset the citrus!

I grew up in snowy, miserable Central New York and have vivid memories of shivering at the end of my driveway, waiting for that damn school bus to huff it’s way over the hill. I feel your pain!

And what good advice about these winter doldrums… I too have been producing some rather uninspired meals lately, so perhaps it’s time I treated myself! This looks gorgeous and just the thing to wake me up.


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