Since first trying to candy and then chocolate cover orange peels last spring, I have branched out to ginger and other citrus fruit peels.
Citrus peel or ginger strips - generally about 1 c worth
1/2 c sugar plus extra for candying
100 g Chocolate
Optional: Cinnamon, cloves spices etc.
1) Place the (clean) orange peel in a saucepan with enough water to cover it and add sugar. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for about half an hour to an hour until the orange peel is tender but still retains its integrity and a little bite.
2) Remove and drain, spreading out on a drying rack to dry overnight.
3) Place the ones you want to candy in a jar with the sugar, seal and shake, coating them evenly.
4) For the chocolate coated peels, place chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water to create a Bain Marie. Stir regularly as the chocolate begins to melt. Dip strips of orange peel into the chocolate and lay on a cooling rack. (TIP: I find chopsticks very helpful in the dipping process!)
The principles hold generally to the orange peels I did last year, but I thought I would share my thoughts and experiences. I have generally omitted the extra sugar shaken over the candied peels at the end, finding it unnecessary.
I find that lime peel and lime slices work very well and have an excellent balance of sweetness and tartness to them when candied. I have also tried coating them in white chocolate, which worked excellently.
Ginger, of course, works wonderfully. As with the others, I have not added extra sugar on top, but I have coated in dark chocolate, which is very tasty. Dark chocolate with a little orange oil added to it is especially delectable.
On one occasion, I simmered ginger, orange and lime together. It worked nicely, but the citrus peel was done before the ginger, which had to go back in the pan for another go. Also, they shared flavours a little, the ginger imparting a little bite to the lime and orange peels. Not a bad experience by any means, but one to be aware of, depending on your intentions for the candy.
Grapefruit peel was tremendously bitter. I tried adding a pinch of salt to the simmering syrup as salt counteracts bitterness a lot of the time, but it made for a weird bitter salty candied peel rather than anything else. I set it aside, therefore, and covered it in dark chocolate at a later date, some with a sprinkling of cloves over the top too, and the grapefruit peel was transformed! I highly recommend this form of candy! Orange peel with a little cinnamon over the chocolate works too.
Candied lemon works very nicely coated in white chocolate with a little black pepper. It seems a little counterintuitive perhaps, but that is a combo I discovered when playing around with my chocolate tempering and flavouring. The black pepper's sharpness is mitigated by the lemon and the lemon's bitterness is evened out by the black pepper.
I faffed about a little with tempering the chocolate properly before coating my orange and grapefruit peels, but I am not convinced of the necessity of this, and so have not included it in the description above.
A caveat to bear in mind is that these keep extremely well in an airtight jar IF, and only if, you dry them long enough. If after the candying process there is any moisture left on the peels, it will go mouldy, which would be a shame... When they do keep, I am discovering that having candied peels around for use as ingredients in other things can be very handy, like in my updated Ginger Snaps.
I really enjoyed making these (and eating them too) and prepped a whole bunch last week as Christmas presents for my parents. I didn't faff about with tempering all of the chocolate, and I have to say it is an incredibly sticky medium to work with, but it was certainly fun to play around with the different flavours and try different things out.