This weekend is the 3rd Weekend Cookbook Challenge hosted by Alicat from Something So Clever and Sara from i like to cook. The theme is “sweet and savories in the various shades of orange from recipes in our unused cookbooks.” Frankly, I do not have any unused cookbooks because I can only fit about five of them in my tiny apartment. Therefore, I only buy cookbooks I know I will use. Instead I found a recipe on the internet, which I rarely resort to for recipes. That somewhat works, right?
Now for my orange something. My sister-in-law’s parents adore Leonidas orangettes, and as a result I too am now a huge fan. These are basically candied orange peels that are covered with luxurious Belgium chocolate. When I visit my sister-in-law’s parents, we often end the evening sipping kirschwasser while nibbling on these fabulous orangettes, which is such a treat.
I remembered once watching Giada De Laurentiis’s Everyday Italian on the Food Network and she made a made similar type of candy. I was so excited to see that I could make these orangettes myself (especially since Leonidas’ orangettes are not exactly cheap)! Now I had the perfect opportunity to try them out.
I found the recipe on the Food Network’s website. The recipe did not look too difficult–just time consuming, which it was. I knew that if I took the time to make this, I wanted more candied orange peels than the recipe made so I doubled it (more accurately, I used three navel oranges instead of one, but I only doubled the liquid parts of the recipe).
Here is how I made the orangettes, adapted from Giada De Laurentiis’s recipe:
- 3 large navel oranges
- 1 ½ cup of sugar
- 1 cup water
- 3.5 oz semisweet chocolate bar (I actually ate about a 1/3 of it first, so I only used 2/3 of the bar for the recipe which was enough)
- I filled a small pot half-way with water and placed it over high heat.
- I took three navel oranges and stripped their peels with a vegetable peeler. The strips I took off were about an inch wide and were the length from the stem end to the navel end. I found that I had to add decent pressure to the vegetable peeler to make sure I peeled the zest off with enough thickness. However, be careful not to take the white part off because it is bitter tasting.
- Once the water in the pot was boiling, I added the orange peels and let them boil for a minute. I then poured the peels and water into a strainer and rinsed them under cold water. The recipe calls for you to do this twice, using fresh water each time. I had read elsewhere that this process takes the bitterness out of the peels, so I went ahead and did it three times just to be sure.
- After I finished the boiling process, I filled the small pot with 1 cup of water and 1 ½ cups of sugar and stirred this mixture over medium high heat until the sugar was dissolved. I then brought the sugar water to a boil and added the orange peels, turning down the heat to medium low and letting the peels simmer for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, I used tongs to transfer the peels to a dry surface with each peel separately laid out flat. When you remove the peels from the sugar water, be sure to let the sugar water drain off of them. I did not do this, and they never fully dried out. The recipe calls for you to lay the peels on a sheet of parchment paper, which I did not have. Instead I just laid them on a tin foil lined cookie sheet. Be sure to save the sugar water!!! This is the most unbelievable tasting sugar syrup you will ever have! Save it to sweeten coffee, tea, oatmeal, etc.
- The recipe calls for you to let the peels dry for 1 hour, but since I did not drain them too well from the sugar syrup they were quite wet. So I let mine sit in the refrigerator overnight.
- Once your peels are ready, melt the semisweet chocolate. The recipe suggests you melt it over a double broiler, but I opted for the microwave. I used a Swiss chocolate bar, which I broke into small pieces into a small bowl. I then put the bowl into the microwave for 30 second intervals. My chocolate took two 30 second intervals to melt.
- Then dip the peels into the chocolate, about 2/3 the length, and place them onto a flat surface. Again, I used a tin foil lined cookie sheet for this. Although I did let the excess chocolate drip off, I found that when I laid the peels onto their flat surface they were soon sitting in a puddle of chocolate. I did not want my orangettes to have wings! So when I finished dipping all the peels, I then transferred them to a second flat surface leaving the chocolate puddle behind. They were now ready to sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to set.
The final product was great! The combination of the semisweet chocolate with the tart orange peel is pure perfection. The part of the peel not covered by the chocolate was still a bit sticky since I did not drain them well enough from the sugar syrup, but otherwise, they were a success. Not to mention, are these not so beautiful? I think these are the perfect treat to end the night with. I hope you do try these.