It’s the holidays, and this year I won’t be able to go back home to Tuscany… and I know, I will terribly miss seeing my grandmother!
It used to be one of our most cherished Christmas celebration to lock ourselves up in the kitchen for a full afternoon, usually a couple of days before the family lunch, and prepare the sweet treats that would accompany the final toast. Our favorite things to prepare have always been Ricciarelli (Siena traditional’ Almond Cookies) and the candied orange peels dipped in dark chocolate.
Both recipes require a long time of preparation, which makes for a great time at the kitchen counter with any of your family members, especially kids as they are always game when it’s time to work on a dessert!
Traditionally the “Scorze di Arancia” demand a very slow 3 days preparation time, but I have never met a kid able to wait that long for a dessert, at least neither one of my daughters! So I had to give it a few tries before I was able to come up with a much quicker solution. Both methods will provide you with great results, however if you really want to give your orange peels a perfect crunch you should go with the slower version of this recipe, as it allows the orange peels to dry much better and become crispier.
This said, when we prepare this delicious recipe in our house it usually takes us no more than a couple of days to devour it all. Once the chocolate dries on the orange peels you can save this candies in the fridge for up to two weeks, enjoy!
Serves: 6 / Prep Time: 30 minutes / Cooking Time: 60 minutes
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup fine granulated sugar
- Rinds of 5 Oranges
- 5 oz Bittersweet chocolate
- Granulated sugar (optional)
1Cut the oranges in quarters, remove the peel and slice it in thin stripes, about 1/4″.
2Boil the peels in water for three times, discarding the water every time.
3After the third time drain the peels and weight them, then make a simple-syrup with exactly the same weight in Sugar and water.
4Cook until the syrup will dry, but stop the cooking process before it caramelizes, otherwise the sugar will get dark and it will harden, making it impossible to retrieve the single peels.
5Dry the peels on a rack. Then decide how you would like to finish them: you can roll them on some granulated sugar, or melt some bitter sweet chocolate, gently dip them in and set aside to dry (or refrigerate to speed up the cooling process).
1Peel the oranges making stripes about of about 1/4 inch and soak them in cold water for about 3 days, changing the water once or twice a day. This will help the orange peel loose its bitterness.
2After 3 days mix the sugar and the water in a large skillet, put the orange peels in it and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for two minutes then remove the peels without discarding the syrup.
3Set the orange peels on a cooling rack and let dry for 24 hours, refrigerate the leftover syrup.
4Repeat this step 3 times for 3 consecutive days.
5On the fourth day it is time to garnish the peels.
6If you would like to simply use granulated sugar you have to roll them in it before they are completely dry, otherwise the sugar won’t stick to them.
7If you would like to cover them in dark chocolate you have to wait for the peels to be completely dry, then melt the chocolate “Ban Marie” or in the microwave and dip the peels in it one at the time using a toothpick.
8Place the peels covered in chocolate on a platter lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.