Finely shred 1 teaspoon orange peel; set aside. Remove and discard peel and white membrane from oranges. Place in bowl; set aside.
In large heavy skillet heat 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar over medium-high heat until sugar begins to melt, shaking skillet occasionally to heat evenly. Do not stir. Once sugar starts to melt, reduce heat to medium-low; cook 5 to 6 minutes or until sugar is melted and turns golden brown, stirring with wooden spoon. Do not overcook. Remove from heat.
Very slowly and carefully stir the hot tea into the caramelized sugar. If necessary, return to heat. Cook until all hard sugar particles dissolve. Cool. Stir in shredded orange peel, crystallized ginger, and vanilla. Spoon mixture over oranges in bowl. Toss to coat. Cover; chill at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. Spoon mixture over oranges again before serving.
Slice each orange crosswise, then reassemble in dessert dishes. Divide syrup among dishes. Serve with Meringue Cookies, if desired. Makes 10 to 12 servings.