This post marks Day 19 of Miss Ginsu's 2007 Advent Calendar. To click into other days and other projects, use the calendar page to navigate.
Have I blogged about citrus yet this week? No? Horrors! Let that oversight be mended now.
For some reason I always think the things I love to eat must certainly be beyond my ability to make. Maybe that's some kind of weird culinary-related self-esteem issue.
When I actually do the research on a given recipe, I often find out that I could have been supplying myself with something tasty and homemade (not to mention cheaper...) all along. Great Gazpacho? I could whip it up in my sleep. Tasty breakfast granola? A snap! Coffee Concentrate? A cinch! Home-brewed cocktail bitters? Easy-peasy... who knew?
That's why I'm happy to report that while amazing chocolate, wine and beer-making powers may still be outside my realm of competency, I believe candied citrus fruits have finally fallen into my greedy hands.
Candied Orange dipped in dark chocolate from The Sweet Life
Yes, folks... the lovely chocolate-dipped candied orange slice you see in the photo above can easily be whipped up at home. All you need is a little patience and a handful of ingredients you may already have at home.
The recipe herein is based off one for candied orange peel I found in Sweet Gratitude by Judith C. Sutton.
Ms. Sutton stops at the peel, but I've eaten enough orange slices (like the one above), to know that the whole slice is certainly possible. The secret? Cut 'em thin and treat 'em with all due care and delicacy while you cook 'em.
My very own candied orange slice, ready for the dippin'
Chocolate-Dipped Candied Oranges
3 large navel oranges, scrubbed
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
16oz dark or milk chocolate
2 Tbsp vegetable shortening
parchment or wax paper
1. Using a very sharp knife, cut the orange into thin slices (1/8-inch).
2. Put the orange slices into a large heavy saucepan, add cold water to cover, and bring to a boil; drain. Return the slices to the saucepan, add cold water to cover by about 1 inch, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the peels are tender when tested with a fork, about 15 minutes; drain and set aside.
3. Set a large wire rack, preferably a mesh one, over a baking sheet; set aside. Combine the corn syrup, sugar and water in the same saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Wash down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to remove any sugar crystals (which could cause the syrup to crystallize) and add the orange slices.
4. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat, and simmer gently, stirring once or twice with a clean spoon, until the peel is translucent and very tender and the syrup has reduced to a few spoonfuls, 40 to 60 minutes. (Do not allow the syrup to reduce to less than this, or the bottom of the pan will become too hot and will crystallize the sugar. Add in a little more water if the level gets too low.)
5. Using a slotted spoon or a fork, carefully move the slices to the wire rack to drain; be sure to keep them separate and dry at least 4 hours.
6. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and shortening, blending until smooth.
7. Dip the orange slices half-way into the chocolate mixture. Allow any excess chocolate to drip off, and let the dipped slices harden on parchment or wax paper.
Though this recipe isn't strictly a holiday-only offering, I'd bet that if you wrapped 'em in waxed paper and nestled 'em in a cute little tin, these would make a smashing holiday gift for your favorite citrus lover. And if you were so inclined, I bet lemons or grapefruit would work just as well.