Monday, December 3, 2012

Chocolate Covered Orange Peel

     Every year at Christmastime, I make chocolate covered orange peel.  You know, the ones you buy in boutique chocolatiers.  Let me tell you, there is a reason they are so expensive!  What a task they are to make!  However, they will certainly make your friends sit up and take notice!  Here is what I do!

Take 4 oranges with a nice thick skin and remove the peel as neatly as possible.  Eat the flesh or juice the oranges.  I present my hubby with a nice glass of fresh squeezed juice on the morning I make them.  Then cut the peel into neat strips.  Place the peel into cool water to cover and boil for 5 minutes, drain and do it again...4 more times.  Then you make a sugar saturated solution of 1 cup water: 3cups sugar and gently boil the peel for 20 minutes in the solution.  Drain the peel and place them separately on a wax-paper covered baking sheet and let them dry for a few hours.

When relatively dry, melt a large block of good quality dark chocolate.  This is your biggest expense.  I find Trader Joe's brand to be the best quality for the money.  I have tried milk chocolate orange peel, but it is just not as good.  Okay, once the chocolate is melted, you must cover each strip in the lovely, velvety chocolate. This is the part that is the biggest pain.  If you can get your hubby to help or maybe one of the kids, it goes by much quicker.  I am fortunate that my middle daughter loves all things domestic and she doesn't even think this is a chore!  My husband helped once....once.  I don't blame him.  Place the peel on a freshly wax covered baking pan and place in the fridge for a bit.  Then pack into a cookie tin and dish them out at gatherings or give a few to honored friends.

Everyone will want the recipe, but no one will ever make them, so you will be special!

Oh, I should mention, do NOT skip a step.  My sister in law made them once, completely skipping the 20 minutes in the syrup.  This is the candying step and, may I tell you, without it you just have ...yuck.  Also, you should know, the repeat boiling in fresh water for 5 minutes at a time removes the bitterness of the peel.

One good thing to mention, you can eat them without covering them in chocolate!  They are very tasty just candied!

Keep celebrating!

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