I have always loved both candied and chocolate covered orange peel, but never tried making it. It was a treat whose makings were shrouded in mystery, and justly so, as something so delectable couldn't be within the realm of mere mortal cooks, but must be kept by master pastry chefs. And then a couple of weeks ago I saw a post on Instagram by Aleks @garlicrosemaryandsalt about trying to make it for the first time. Given that I already save a lot of our orange peel to dry for use as an ingredient in a few very select dishes (ahem almost everything I make), I thought I would give it a try too, and they worked beautifully. Some I sugared, some I covered in chocolate and some I left plain.
Orange peel (I think I had about 3 oranges' worth, you can use more or less) cut into strips - I left the pith on but might trim it a little next time.
Sugar - I used around 1/2 c for the syrup, and about 2 tbsp for the candying - use more if you like yours sweeter
100 g Chocolate - I used 64% cacao dark chocolate. Milk could be an interesting choice too
2 -3 tbsp milk
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 an hour to an hour and a half until the orange peel begins to go almost translucent.
2) Remove and drain, spreading out on a baking sheet to dry over night, turning occasionally.
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 heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir regularly as the chocolate begins to melt. Add the milk as necessary to get the chocolate to melt smoothly. Dip strips of orange peel into the chocolate and lay on a baking try covered with wax paper to dry. Place in fridge for an hour or so if necessary.
All three methods are delicious. The ones I boiled but didn't coat remain acidic and tart, but without the bitterness and the edge taken off them. The sugared ones are candy, the chocolate ones melt together, the chocolate and orange melding seamlessly into a beautiful duo. Next time I might try a little spicing - some Aloha Spiced Cacao, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, salt or chilli flakes in the chocolate or sprinkled over the top. For a first try though I wanted to leave them simple, and I am glad I did. The candied ones, in addition to being excellent snack food, topped my Orange Chocolate Cake beautifully too!
Book Pairing: When I made these, I was listening to Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. I was right at the start of the book where, despite knowing vaguely what was going to happen, reinforced by some foreshadowing, I was still early enough in that it was possible to just enjoy the beauty of Nabokov writing without being fully disgusted with the main character and the story as I was through the rest of the book. It is wonderfully written, but I can't for the life of me work out why it is something one should ever read!