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Whether you reserve this side dish for a special occasion or eat it all year long, glazed carrots are a classic that will never go out of style. Why steam them when, with the help of three basic ingredients and a little extra time, you can create a sweet and savory dish that will please everyone around the table?

Any cut of carrots will work for this dish. What shape of carrots do you prefer? Long, thick batons (otherwise known as carrot sticks)? Wide, oval discs? Or perhaps you prefer to skip the knife work altogether, and stick with baby carrots? They’re all good choices.

The nice thing about this dish is that the technique works equally well, regardless of which cut you decide to use. What is important is cutting the carrots approximately the same size. This will ensure they cook evenly and you don’t end up with some carrots that are mushy, while others aren’t cooked through.

Then you’ll choose a sweetener for the glaze, which is added about halfway through the cooking process. As for what you use, that part is dependent on your own tastes. Go classic with granulated sugar, or use brown sugar (light or dark) for a deeper, richer flavor. Honey adds a floral aroma, while maple syrup brings earthy and seasonal notes.

Glazed Carrots

2 pounds carrots (whole or baby carrots)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons granulated sugar, brown sugar, honey or maple syrup

Salt

Fresh ground black pepper

Fresh thyme, for garnish (optional)

Prepare and cut the carrots: If using whole carrots, peel and remove both ends. Slice the carrots diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick discs, or cut into 2-inch-long batons or carrot sticks. Just remember to use the same cut for all the carrots, and keep them to about the same size so they cook evenly. Baby carrots can be cooked whole.

Warm the butter: Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.

Add the carrots: When the butter is hot, add the carrots to the pan and season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots start to soften, about 5 minutes for rounds and carrot sticks, and about 6 to 8 minutes for baby carrots.

Add the orange juice and sweetener: Stir in the juice and sweetener (your choice of white or brown sugar, honey or maple syrup). Cook until the liquid reduces to a glaze, about 15 minutes, while stirring occasionally to coat all the carrots.

Season and serve: Taste, and season carrots with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve immediately. Makes 2 pounds of carrots or 8 servings.

Per serving: 98 calories; 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat; 28 percent calories from fat); 17 g carbohydrates; 11 g sugar; 8 mg cholesterol; 152 mg sodium; 1 g protein; 3 g fiber.

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