Oh, the delicious pairing of orange and chocolate! It is truly one of my favorite combinations and orangettes are fast becoming a candy staple at Casa de Pockets. For those unfamiliar with these delightful treats, orangettes are delicate strips of candied orange peel with a crisp chocolate coating; they have a soft, chewy texture and a citrus bite.
When I began researching recipes for candied orange peel, I discovered that there are a wide variety of ways of preparing them with no general consensus on the best approach, and surprisingly, few detailed instructions. Unfortunately, this lack of direction resulted in several failed batches with seized sugar, burnt peels and puddles of mush.
However, after a long process of trial and failure, Blackberry Pockets’ test kitchens were finally able to develop a method for candying orange peel, which appears to work faithfully time and time again. Hopefully, today, I can give you the direction that was denied to me and help you to create flawless candy with no waste.
Orangettes (chocolate-covered candied orange peel)
The peel from 3 oranges*
3 cups of sugar
1 ½ cups of water
¼ cup of light corn syrup
8 ounces of dark chocolate
* Note: If you are not in the mood to eat 3 oranges and can't coordinate another orange recipe to use the fruit and juice, you can save the peel from the oranges that you eat over the course of a week or two by storing them in a ziplock sandwich bag in the fridge.
Cut the ends off of the oranges, quarter them and remove the peel (pith intact) from the fruit. Slice the peel into ¼ inch strips.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the orange peels for 3 minutes, drain them and repeat the process two more times. This process removes some of the bitter flavor from the peel.
After blanching the peels, combine the sugar, water and corn syrup into a medium-sized sauce pot over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the orange peels and bring the solution to a simmer.
Allow the orange peels to simmer on low heat for 30-50 minutes until they are translucent. This is the step where I blew it on multiple occasions. Pay close attention that the liquid never comes to too hard of a boil. You should still be able to see the submerged peels and you don't want all of the water to evaporate.
When the peels have become translucent (and tasty), transfer them to a drying wrack on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Note: you can preserve the syrup in an air tight container and use it in marinades and drink mixes!
Place the peels in the refrigerator and allow them to cool overnight. Roll the peels in sugar and, again, allow them to dry in the refrigerator for a few hours.
Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler until it reaches a smooth consistency with a glossy shine. If you want to properly temper your chocolate in order to achieve a crisper bite and glossier coating, follow these handy directions from David Lebovitz. Dip the peels into the melted chocolate one-by-one, leaving the tips uncoated and place on the parchment. If you end up with leftover melted chocolate, dip some nuts, fruit or cookies into the remainder!