Eons ago, I had a job at a candy store. It was a fun little job and a yummy little store loaded floor to ceiling with candies, chocolates, fudge, gumballs, jelly beans, chocolate roses, licorice, chocolate-covered pretzels rods, jawbreakers, marzipan... oh my. A heavenly and simultaneously evil establishment for a sweets lover like myself.
I would sample the inventory when I arrived at work, since I was usually working alone I had more sweets throughout my entire shift, a handful while vacuuming at closing and then would sneak a bag of even more home with me. It was very, very wrong of me (this line inserted here for the benefit of my child who just started her first job) but... I could not help myself. The only radio station that we could get on the old stereo inside the store was an oldies station and when 'Sugar Sugar' by The Archies came on, I would think to myself, "That's me! I am the candy girl!"
|Sugar-frosted orange peel|
The best sweet I discovered at that wicked shop was dark chocolate-dipped candied orange peel, and I decided to make some at home to use up the last of my lovely Callebout chocolates! I used the dark chocolate for candied orange peel, and white chocolate for candied lemon peel.
|Lemon peel never looked so pretty!|
The orange peels are still my favorite but white chocolate combined with lemon peel was a great combination that I had not tried before! The lemon peels were still sharply citrusy and the over-the-top sweetness of white chocolate was a nice foil to that sharp taste.
Now that I can make these at home I can finally leave behind my life of crime (note to my children: do not seek employment at a candy store... your mother will follow you there, fall into old candy-pilfering habits and drag you down with me.)
Dark Chocolate-Dipped Candied Orange Peel
and White Chocolate-Dipped Candied Lemon Peel
4 large lemons
4 large navel oranges
8 cups granulated sugar, divided (plus more for rolling). Yes, that's a lot of sugar.
4 cups water, divided
12 oz. dark chocolate
12 oz. white chocolate
Cut the lemons into quarters. Cut away only the flesh from the peel and white pith, leaving the pith intact. Save the flesh for another use. With a sharp knife cut the peel into 1/2" wide strips. Place the peels into a saucepan and fill with cold water to cover the peels by about one inch. Bring to a boil: as soon as the water comes to a boil, remove from heat. Pour off the boiling water. Repeat this process two more times.
Set the peels aside. Put two cups of water into the saucepan and stir in 4 cups of granulated sugar until dissolved. Bring this mixture just to a boil, then reduce heat to keep it a simmer. Gently add the peels to the sugar syrup. Cook at a simmer for about 40 minutes.
Scoop some granulated sugar on a plate. After 40 minutes, remove the peels from syrup with a slotted spoon. Toss the peels in the granulated sugar and then lay them out on a cooling rack.
Repeat this cutting, boiling and sugaring process with the navel oranges. Leave orange and lemon peels out to dry for several hours or overnight.
In the top of a double-boiler melt the white chocolate, stirring until smooth. Shake excess sugar off of the peels before you dip them into the white chocolate, turning them to coat all sides (a fork works very well to turn and lift them.) Lift them from the white chocolate, tap off and drips and place on a wax paper-covered surface. Repeat with the remaining candied lemon peel.
Wash out the double-boiler, and use it to melt the dark chocolate (be careful that the pan is completely dry before melting chocolate in it, and that no steam or water gets into the melting chocolate.) Use the same dipping process for the orange peel strips as you did for the lemon and place on wax paper to set.
Once the peels are dry and set, keep them sealed in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks. The dark chocolate orange peels taste even better when chilled!
Yield: 56-60 pieces of each type, depending on size of fruits.