Autumn into winter is high citrus season, which meant nothing to me until I saw a delicious recipe for candied, chocolate covered orange slices this past Wednesday. When chilled, these slices provide the perfect blast of refreshment after braving the humid, sticky weather that often embodies a NYC September.
After drooling over it all day, I rushed to my favorite green grocer, the Gourmet Garage on 96th and Park, picked up 2 Valencia oranges (these work best as they have a thinner peel), 80 grams bittersweet Ghirardelli chocolate chips (I know someone who swears by Valrhona but either does beautifully), and rushed home to begin my experiment.
The first part of the process hinges on having a good, sharp knife on hand, so you end up with consistent, beautifully thin slices of orange without destroying the soft bits of the fruit. Then cut each slice in half (this is a much easier to handle portion size but using whole slices helps keep the fruit on the peel if you are nervous). Once you are done slicing up the oranges, set aside and combine two cups water with one cup sugar in a deep pot (a copper bottomed pan will spread the heat most evenly throughout the process) and stir constantly until the sugar dissolves, then bring to a boil. Once the sugar water combination is boiling, turn the heat to its lowest setting, place the orange slices in the pot (the water should be just covering them) and place a piece of non-stick baking paper over the top (this helps the steam escape so your oranges won't turn into marmalade). Leave the oranges in the pot, on low heat for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Once done, remove from heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer the slices to a pan lined with more non-stick baking paper. The next step? Leave the oranges along for a good 5 hours! NYC is especially humid right now, so I let mine stand for an extra day.
Once the 5-17 hour period is over, pour 1 cup of the granulated sugar into a bowl, using a fork to gently coat each orange slice in it, and put back on the pan (replace the baking paper if the used sheet is soggy). If the oranges are still kind of wet feeling, cover the pan with aluminium foil and freeze for an hour. When the slices are ready, place your chocolate chips in a double boiler (aka heatproof bowl seated on top of a pot of water) and heat the water on a medium-high heat, taking care to stir the chips as they melt to prevent them from burning. Hint* if the chocolate starts to melt too quickly, reduce the heat or you run the risk of the chocolate separating into cocoa nibs and cocoa butter. When the chocolate has melted evenly, use tongs to gently dip each orange slice into the chocolate and place on a fresh sheet of baking paper. To speed the process of the chocolate setting (becoming firm and smooth), I put my tray back into the freezer (uncovered) for an hour and they were ready to serve. These will keep in the freezer, in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Next step: enjoy and brag that you can candy something!
- 80 grams semi- or bitter-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 oranges
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups water