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April 01, 2015

Blood Oranges and Bittersweet Chocolate

Candied Blood Oranges Cloaked in Bittersweet Chocolate


When I was a kid--heck, even now--one of my favorite candy combinations was orange and chocolate.

At my grandparent's house, my grandmother didn't need a holiday to pull out one of those double-tiered boxes of assorted chocolates. Any Sunday would do--and as the box made its way around the room, I'd prepare myself to throw an Academy Award winning tantrum if anyone dared take the orange butter cream before it was my turn to select.

My temper tantrums and moody flareups were well-known, so thinking back now, I'm pretty sure my family felt a little uncomfortable making their choices. It may have even been a little like playing chocolate roulette. Somehow though, my grandmother had the skills of a great conductor and she would follow the box around the room, quietly orchestrating everyone's choice until magically, when my hand slipped in between the empty wrappers, I would expertly find the one I'd been searching.

The first bite of those magnificent little wonders would befuddle my palate with the kick of citrus sweetness from the orange and then, everything would turn dark and creamy and wonderful as the chocolate melted away upon my tongue.

It's been a really long time since I've had one of those chocolates, but I never deny myself a little homemade confectionery especially chosen to tickle those memories back into being. One of my favorite sweet treats is making use of the beautiful, local fruits and pairing them with bittersweet chocolate. While you won't need to spend days in your kitchen to whip out this treat, you're efforts will be well-rewarded--plus, it's the best way to use up the last of the Blood Oranges before throwing ourselves headfirst into strawberry season.


Candied Blood Oranges Dipped in Bittersweet Chocolate

4-5 Blood Oranges (I used Morro Bay Bloods) washed, dried and thinly sliced
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 broken anise pod

1 12 oz bag of Ghiradelli's bittersweet chocolate chips melted

1. Bring the sugar, water, vanilla and anise to a boil in a large pot.
2. Add the orange slices and simmer until the liquid is syrupy and the orange rinds are soft.
3. Carefully remove from the liquid and allow to dry on wire racks set over cookie sheets until the oranges are firm and lose their stickiness (depending on the humidity, this can take a good 24-36 hours)
4. Once the orange slices are dry, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave until almost melted and then stir until completely melted; allow to cool slightly.
5. Gently dip each orange slice in the melted chocolate halfway up the slice and then set aside on waxed paper lined cookie sheets.
6. Refrigerate until firm and then transfer to an airtight container, separating the layers with waxed paper.
7. Eat with abandon.





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