Every year for 11 years now I've been making candied orange slices for the holidays. It is a long process and takes a week or so to complete but the end result is so yummy and festive. They have such a beautiful stained glass look. It's totally worth the time and effort. I am gonna try a process post here although I don't think my pictures were the best but anyway, enjoy!
Start with organic Valencia oranges. It is important that they are Valencia oranges as I have tried others and the end product isn't as nice. The peel is too bitter or is too thick. The segments aren't even and pretty. As for organic, that is because the peel has a different taste if they aren't not to mention the scary toxins in and on the peel. Slice the oranges and discard (I juice) the ends and put the slices in a big pot with a bit of sugar in the bottom.
Layers sugar and oranges until it's 3/4 full.
Then onto the stove over medium low heat.
The sugar starts melting. This is a slow process as you want to be careful not to scortch the sugar. I pretty much hover over them on the stove gently shifting them with a wooden spoon for the 45 minutes this takes. Once most of the sugar is melted you can turn up the heat and bring it to a simmer adding sugar so the Orange slices are completely covered.
Once they reach a boil and all the sugar is melted, let it simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. What happens here is the water in the orange begins to steam out in the heat and the liquid sugar replaces it. After 20 minutes turn it off and let it cool completely.
Repeat this process once or twice a day through the week until they don't steam anymore when heated to a boil. That's when all the water is gone and replaced with sugar. They will be glassy and beautiful! I like to boil for about 15 minutes with no steam escaping to harden the syrup a bit and give it a nice carmel flavor and color. At one point I thought that I could just combine this process into one day and save time with the heating a cooling by boiling continuously but the end product is not nearly as pretty and the flavor just isn't there. Time is essential with these. Just know that, and be patient. The good thing here is your house smells amazing the whole time these are in the kitchen!
Now very gently poor off the cooled liquid and strain the oranges. Reserve the syrup to have in tea, on ice cream and pancakes, with whipped chocolate ganache, pretty much limitless uses. Work in small patches while straining so the slices don't get damaged. Lay them to dry on plastic wrap on a flat surface. Step back and admire your beautiful stained glass looking treats that are making your home smell like a holiday candyland. This is about day 5 depending on the size of your batch.
After 24 hours or so of drying, flip each slice discarding the sticky plastic wrap and putting fresh wrap down. Wait another 24-ish hours. Try one. Yum! Make tea and sweeten with the orange syrup and contemplate how impressed everyone is going to be with your amazing candies. Pat yourself on the back because you are so awesome and really close to being done with this week long project that has been taking over your every available kitchen counter space for fekking ever.
It's been 48 hours of drying, time for chocolate! In a double boiler made from a bowl over a pot (make sure the bowl isn't resting in the water) melt bitter sweet chocolate over hot but not boiling water. Be patient here as well. You are going to stay at the stove for quite a while slowly stirring. I usually buy a block of chocolate and chop it, melting the chopped pieces but this year I used chips. I have to say I like the block chocolate better but chips were less expensive. However, quality really does matter so you decide. When it is melted, remove bowl from hot water and dry the bottom (careful not to get even a tiny drip of water in your chocolate or it will seize and ruin your happy mood and your batch of chocolate) add a third more chocolate to your bowl.
Incorporate the hard chocolate into the melted chocolate. This seeds the melted chocolate and makes it lovely and glossy and perfect for dipping oranges in.
When all of the chocolate is smooth and glossy it is ready for dipping oranges in. The above picture is close to ready, Just needs a few more moments to finish melting the added chips.
There, perfect. Now go into super human speed and working as fast as possible (the chocolate is only workable at a very narrow temperature range) dip each slice one half in the chocolate and place on fresh plastic wrap to dry. This is messy so keep a couple damp cloths close to clean your fingers.
Aren't these gorgeous little fragrant morsels of chewy goodness. Let them dry here until the chocolate is set. Them place in air tight containers for your special dinner later or stack and warp in plastic wrap or wax paper and give as gifts. These are perfect on any table laden with a holiday feast!