Friday, February 13, 2009

BSI: Orange (Chocolate Covered Orange Peels)

There's this little chocolate shop, right off the main street in Newburgh, New York, where we used to live, called the Commodore Chocolatier. I'd fail horribly if I tried to attempt their Greek last name, but the owner's name is George, and his family has owned it and operated it since 1935.

My dad has known George for years, and my mom sees his son, also George, nearly every summer at her piano camp. He's a fantastic piano player, having played at Carnagie Hall in his early teens, and practices hours a day. I think it's secretly been her dream that we marry someday.

The Commodore used to be a soda shoppe, but the candy end of the business took off, and that's now all the store can handle. Everytime I go in there I have to get three things. The chocolate covered strawberries, a delicious trail mix they make with tons of nuts, dried fruit, shaved coconut and honey, and chocolate covered orange peels. Before the Commodore, I'd never heard of these, but they sounded so special, I just had to try them and I've been hooked ever since!

For the Blogger Secret Ingredient (BSI) this week, Mara of What's for Dinner? chose ORANGES. The season has been really great for citruses this year, so we've regularly had some form of oranges on hand for the past few weeks - perfect!

I didn't want to bake anything, so I started thinking about what I could make and the idea came when Alisa of One Frugal Foodie posted these adorable heart-shaped Valentine's candies. Johnny and I had already planned on making them (I'll post them tomorrow - check back!), but while we had the chocolate out and melted, why not ALSO make chocolate covered orange peels!? Delicious!

First, I cut a medium sized navel orange into wedges, and peeled out the fruit's flesh, leaving just the rind.

Next, I cut the wedges in half, and into tiny slivers. Each were about an inch long, and about 1/4 of an inch thick.

I cooked these for about 20 minutes in a simple syrup, using 1 part water to 2 parts sugar. Because I was only using the rind from one orange, it didn't require much, about 1/4 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar.

I brought this mixture up to a boil, then reduced it and simmered for about 20 minutes. By then, the peels were really fragrant, and had soaked up a lot of the mixture so they were kind of translucent. The sugar had also started to crystalize, so I turned off the heat and placed the peels on a piece of foil and into the fridge to cool.

Later, when we were coating the heart-shaped candies, I let the orange peels take their turn in the chocolate bath. I then layed them out on a piece of wax paper and into the fridge to cool and set.

So - to recap:

1 medium sized navel orange
1/4 cup of water
1/2 cup sugar
melted chocolate

Remove the fruit flesh from the orange, and cut the peel into strips. Candy these in a water and sugar syrup mixture, over low heat for about 20 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool in the fridge. Dip in chocolate until coated, lay on wax paper and cool in the fridge to set the chocolate. EAT and enjoy!!!


Anonymous said...

I am so honored to have provided some inspiration!

I definitely have to try these orange peels. Big blocks of dark chocolate and leftover peel from my recent orange bender are begging to be turned into these!

Anonymous said...

What an interesting take on oranges! I have yet to make my recipe - leaning towards a savory entree this weekend.

Yours looks great though!!