Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chocolate Covered Candied Orange Peel


 For the longest time, I thought that I didn't like the taste of chocolate and orange.  What I eventually realized is that it's not that I don't like that particular flavor combination, but rather that I don't like cheap or artificial chocolate and orange.  These home made bites are amazing-so much better than anything you can buy, and make a delicious Christmas gift.  We even liked the candied orange peel without the chocolate!

The recipe is very easy, uses few ingredients, but it does require a little time and patience. 

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

4 navel oranges

Simple Syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

16 oz of dark chocolate for coating

Cut one end off the orange so it would sit flat if you set it down on a counter. Then score the peel top to bottom, so that you can peel it off in about 4 sections.

Thinly slice (but not super thin) the peel into strips. Do this to all four and set aside the oranges. You can eat them for a snack or something, because you don't need them anymore. It's only the peel you need to worry about.

In a pot of boiling water, blanch the orange peels for a couple of minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon, rinse, and then blanch them again. This removes all the bitterness from them.

In a different pot, bring the one cup of water and one cup of sugar to a simmer, stirring until the sugar melts. Add you blanched orange peels, turn the heat to low, and put a lid on. Let them simmer away for about an hour, checking on them every so often to turn down/up the heat if you need to.

After an hour, remove the peels from the syrup and set them on a wire cooling rack in a single layer. I put a piece of parchment paper underneath, as the syrup dripping off of the peels is sticky and then I had less clean up. Set them aside and let them dry. I let mine dry all night, and they were perfect in the morning.

Melt 16 oz dark chocolate in a double boiler set over hot, but not boiling, water until smooth.  With a waxed paper lined cookie sheet nearby, dip the peels in the chocolate one by one.  This is a messy process, and a little time consuming, but worth it.  Set the dipped peels on the lined cookie sheet to dry until they are set.

I'm not sure how to describe how these turn out once they've sat and the chocolate has hardened up.  The peel, which you'd think would stay chewy, actually goes kind of soft in the center.  These taste just like the chocolate oranges that you smack to break apart, only they are SO MUCH BETTER.

Makes about 2 cups

Inside an Orangette
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