I have always relished this combination of citrus enrobed in dark chocolate, but never got around to making it. Well, I finally got around it it, motivated not only by my sweet tooth, but by a recent stop in a candy shop. Walking along East 61st Street in Manhattan, my husband and I happened to pass a quaint little chocolate shop. I had to stop in. Places like that can’t be passed by.
The glass cases were lined mainly with molded solid chocolates in the shape of little animals. But what caught my eye were the chocolate dipped candied orange slices. “What is the price of your chocolates?” I asked the smiling clerk. “$88 a pound.” Oh, my God. And I thought Godiva chocolates were expensive. Alright, I have no resistance, not an iota of will power when it comes to chocolate. It’s in my DNA. It runs through my veins. I actually bought three tiny chocolates. She handed me a weightless bag in exchange for $5.75. They were melt-on-your-tongue-and-savor good, but $88 a pound???
What I really longed for were those orange slices. I knew it was time to try my hand at them. Off to the Internet for some research. Not a lot out there, but finding a good tip here and another there, this is what I did. You’re going to need a couple of days to turn these out, but there’s actually very little work and they’re quite easy.
2 navel oranges
¾ cup water
1 ½ cups sugar
8 oz. dark chocolate
½ cup sugar, preferably raw
Cut navel oranges in half through the stem ends. Turn each half cut side down and cut about 1 inch off both ends. Cut halves into ¼-inch slices. Don’t use ends.
Bring water and sugar to a boil in a 12-inch high-sided sauté pan. When the sugar has dissolved completely and mixture is bubbling, lay in each orange half, keeping them as separated as possible. From this point on, don’t stir. Just press the oranges down from time to time. Adjust the heat so that the orange slices are cooking at a low bubble.
The syrup will slowly thicken and the oranges will soften. Cook until oranges soften to the point of almost falling apart. Take off the heat and let sit about 10 minutes. Remove each one with tongs and place on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet to catch drippings. Let dry in a cool place (not the refrigerator). This will take at least 24 hours.
Cut 10 oz. of dark chocolate into small pieces. Put a couple of tablespoons aside. Melt in a double boiler. When smooth, check temperature with a candy thermometer or laser thermometer. Stir in additional small pieces of chocolate to bring the temperature down to 88 degrees.
Spread out sugar on a plate. Using tongs coat each orange slice on both sides with sugar. Shake off excess. Hold a slice on the rind at the top of one edge with tongs over double boiler and spoon chocolate over half of orange slice. Place on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper to set up. Wow all the chocolate lovers in your life!
Photos by Michael Kirigin