This recipe undoubtedly requires commitment but most of the time you will be just keeping an eye on what is going on in the saucepan rather than being directly involved. I serve these after dinner with coffee or frequently give them as gifts to special friends. The finished sticks will keep really well in the fridge in a covered container for up to 1 month.
Makes: 50 pieces
- 2 brightly skinned oranges
- 450ml water
- 450g granulated sugar
- chocolate 62% cocoa solids
- Place and orange on a chopping board and remove a slice straight across the top and bottom to reveal the flesh within. Discard these two slices. Now place the orange on one of the flat ends and cut downwards from top to bottom following the curvature of the fruit.
- The slice will be about 1cm thick at the thickest point and c 5cm wide. There will be a little of the orange flesh attached to some of the sticks. Repeat with the rest of the orange yielding usually 5 pieces. Repeat this process with the second orange.
- Cut the pieces or orange lengthways into c ¾ - 1cm wide strips. The strips will vary a little in width and that is fine. You should end up with c 50 sticks or strips of orange skin.
- Place the pieces in a saucepan and cover generously with cold water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 1 minute. Strain off the water through a sieve and run the orange pieces under the cold tap.
- Replace in the saucepan, covering again with cold water and repeat the process three more time - that is 4 in total.
- Now put the strained orange strips in a saucepan and add the 450g sugar and 450ml water Bring to a simmer occasionally stirring the saucepan gently to encourage the sugar to dissolve. Simmer very gently uncovered for about 80 minutes.
- It is really important the syrup only barely simmers, otherwise it may reduce and become thick in which case the sticks will be tough and unpleasant. By now if you hold up one of the sticks to the light, it should look translucent.
- Lift the sticks one at a time on to a wire rack. Make sure they are not touching and allow to cool and sit and "cure" like that at room temperature overnight or for at least 12 hours.
- To coat the sticks, place the chocolate in a Pyrex bowl and sit over a saucepan of cold water. The water should not be touching the bottom of the bowl. Place on the heat and as soon as the water simmers remove from the heat.
- Leave the bowl of partly melted chocolate where it is on top of the saucepan and allow it to melt completely in the residual heat. You can stir if you wish but it is not really necessary.
- When the chocolate is melted completely, stir with a flexible rubber spatula to achieve a smooth consistency – magic moment when shape of drops disappears
- Now using a pair of tongs or a fork, dip the pieces of orange, one at a time, into the chocolate and coat them. I usually hold each piece over the bowl of chocolate to allow excess to drip off before placing on a parchment lined tray.
- After 5 minutes, I usually lift the pieces of chocolate coated orange on to a clean sheet of parchment to make sure the coating of chocolate is not too thick – this step is optional but gives a more refined finish.
- The first sheet of parchment will have little blobs of chocolate on it, so I place that in the fridge for the chocolate to set and to be used again at another time. Make sure the pieces are spaced apart and not touching.
- The sticks can now be allowed to set in a cold place or in the fridge. When completely cold and completely set, I usually place the sticks in a sealed container and continue to store them in the fridge.