For me, salty wins out every time. I don't have much of a sweet tooth, although I do enjoy good dark chocolate. That said, there's one confection that I love, and always enjoy: candied orange peel, and candied orange peel dipped in dark chocolate...heaven! This weekend I decided to try my hand at making this treat. It turned out to be an all day project, but my kitchen smelled like heaven and the end result was well worth the effort.
I looked for recipes on the net, and all of them started out pretty much the same way: with cutting the ends off the oranges, then quartering the oranges and scraping out the meat to leave the orange peel and pith. I used this method on the first of 6 oranges and decided there had to be a better way. Even using a grapefruit spoon, this was incredibly messy and seemed to waste a lot of good orange.
On the other hand, it immediately resulted in a glass of freshly squeezed juice, which was pretty good to drink as I worked.
But convinced there had to be a better way, I went through my batterie de cuisine and found the handy little plastic device designed to peel an orange with almost no effort.
In no time at all I had a bowl filled with quartered orange peel, ready to be sliced into narrow strips.
I covered the orange slices with cold water which I brought to a boil. I boiled the orange slices for 5 minutes, then drained off the boiling water, added more fresh, cold water, and repeated the process two more times, for a total of three blanchings.
Next, I prepared a simple syrup, using 3 cups of sugar and 1 1/2 cups water. I cooked that to the soft ball stage, which took about 8 minutes. I added the orange peel and simmered this concoction, covered, until the orange peels were translucent, which took about an hour and a half at a very low simmer.
When they were done, they looked like this.
I drained them, decanting and saving the orange flavored simple syrup to use as a sweetener for ice tea or mixed drinks.
Then I rolled the strips in sugar and put them on a rack to dry for about 45 minutes.
Finally, I dipped them in bittersweet melted chocolate and put them on wax paper in the refrigerator to cool. In a tightly covered, refrigerated container, these will keep for a month or so. Enjoy!
Here's the recipe; just follow the instructions above:
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar for dipping slices in
8 ounces chocolate for dipping