For a fancy-schmancy holiday treat that looks too pretty to eat, go for these Chocolate Dipped Candied Orange Slices!
Growing up, my dad had two Christmas treats that were sure to show up in the stocking every year: Cordial Cherries and Orange Slices. Yep, those were his trademark items. So, you can bet how excited I was when I walked into the Amano Chocolate Factory Store and discovered that they had superbly gourmet versions of each of these! Like, I’m talking top of the line deliciousness. And I didn’t even like cordial cherries, and was on the fence about orange slices until this encounter….. (of course I’m talking the bulk processed packaged kind of each, so they really aren’t comparable at all.)
I wondered how Amano achieved their final outcome with their oranges. Because so many candied oranges just seem and look sticky and icky to me. But their oranges were perfectly dried yet pliable. And they tasted fabulous. Luckily, Amano shared their little secret with us that makes all the difference. Instead of boiling the oranges in syrup to candy them, they soak/macerate them in a cooled simple syrup (I make a rich simple syrup) overnight and then dry them out. They said they used a food dehydrator. We’re actually still figuring that one out for timing and temp, but have had fabulous results in an oven.
These candied orange slices are really so simple, yet so sophisticated. They are the perfect adult Christmas treat gift that’s a little different than all of the peppermint bark and fudge that seem to be everywhere this time of year (although those sweet treats still hold a dear place in my taste buds! In fact we’ll be sharing our yummy versions this weekend). And my kids actually love them, too! This can still count as fruit for the day, right? Ummmmm…..maybe not. But, I’ll try to stretch the rules for you.
Chocolate Dipped Candied Orange Slices
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 large navel oranges, sliced into 1/8 inch slices leave on rind, zest, and all
- 1-2 cups dark chocolate morsels or chunks we like Ghirardelli, Guittard, or Amano - Morobe or Dos Rios are excellent pairings with this, for dipping
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water.
Heat mixture until sugar dissolves completely and mixture starts to boil.
Remove from heat, pour into wide, shallow Tupperware, and cool completely.
When syrup has cooled completely layer your sliced oranges in the syrup, pushing them down until all are mostly covered.
Cover container to seal and place in refrigerator overnight (I've left them for as long as two days before candying.)
Preheat oven to 170 degrees F. (You can have some variation here - please see notes.)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Nest a wire cooling rack on top of the parchment.
Place your oranges on the wire rack. (The wire rack allows the drying to come from top and bottom so that they oranges can dry evenly).
Place oranges in oven. If you have a convection feature on your oven, turn it on. Leave the oven cracked open about 2 inches.
Dry oranges for 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours, rotating pan every 30 minutes, and flipping oranges every hour to maintain uniform drying.
You will know that the oranges are done when they are pliable and dry to the touch.
Let oranges cool completely.
Temper your chocolate over a double boiler (here are some handy tempering instructions) or heat chocolate morsels in microwave in 15-30 second increments at 50% power until melted.
Dip 1/2 of orange into chocolate and place on waxed paper.
If desired, sprinkle fleur de sel (or other coarse salt) over top of chocolate.
Let cool until set.
Tips for drying:
Convection in the oven is a wonderful thing! It helps create an airflow around the oranges for drying. However, if you don't have it, don't fret. Cracking the door open and using the wire rack also assist really well with drying. You may just need to leave them in a little longer.
You may also dry at a lower temperature (down to about 130 degrees) if you desire. Once again, you just want to continue to check the oranges about every 30 minutes, rotating them to avoid hot spots that could end up burning. Depending on how low you go, it could take considerably longer, but low temperature is key to not burning and having perfect chewy results.
Laying out the oranges for baking/drying after the syrup soak
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