An Old South tradition; homemade candied orange peel in chocolate. I love plain chocolate, I love chocolate and mint, but what I really love is chocolate and orange, and this classic candy features the two, alone in unabashed love. Kids may not love to eat these quite as much as adults do, but they love making them! Don’t buy hefty navel oranges with thick peel. Look for smaller varieties, such as Valencias, with a thinner, more flavorful rind, and scrub the exteriors well (and, ideally, start with organic oranges).
- Yield: 1 pound candy
- 4 oranges
- 3 cups sugar
- 8 ounces dark chocolate (such as Ghirardelli’s 60% or 70% cacao bars)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or solid vegetable shortening
- Lay an orange on a clean cutting board, then slice off and discard the top and bottom. Cut the orange into quarters, top to bottom, and then carefully slice the rind away from the fruit. Trim and discard any bitter white pith that you see. Repeat with the other 3 oranges, gathering the rind in one bowl and putting the fruit in another, to eat or make into juice (the kids can eat or drink it while you work).
- Trim the pieces of peel into strips about ¼ inch wide. Place them in a large saucepan and cover them with water. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 20 minutes. Drain the pan, discarding the water, then add fresh water and boil again for 20 minutes. Drain.
- Put the peel back in the pot with 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1 hour, stirring now and then. The peel will be tender and almost translucent.
- Using a slotted spoon, lift the peels out of the syrup and transfer them to a cooling rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Separate the peels and lay them in rows, then leave them to dry for 1 hour. When they are still slightly tacky to the touch, place the remaining 1 cup sugar in a large bowl and gently add in the peels. Toss them carefully to coat, then return them to the drying rack, shaking off the excess sugar, and leave them to dry completely, uncovered, overnight.
- When you’re ready to dip, break up the chocolate and melt it with the oil or shortening in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, stirring frequently. Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper. When the chocolate is smooth, dip each of the strips halfway into the melted chocolate and lay them on the prepared baking sheet to firm up (you may need to chill them for 30 minutes). When they’re set, pack them in an airtight container in layers separated by wax paper and store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.