Friday, June 15, 2012

Recipe: Vivian's Dark Chocolate Orange Peel Bark

This recipe came about the day my hubby and I returned from grocery shopping with a bag of discounted oranges and a chocolate bar. I thought, why not put these two things together? So I did a search online for chocolate orange bark recipes, and discovered that the orange peel was invariably candied through the use of white sugar. Being me, I couldn't help but marvel at the oddness of adding outside sugar to a substance that surrounds a lot of naturally-occurring sugars and vitamins. So I decided to see what would happen if I used the juice from the orange instead of sugar and water. What happened? Deliciousness, that's what happened.

  • 100 grams dark chocolate, preferably 60-80%
  • 1 orange

Wash the orange, cut in half and juice. We have one of those manual orange juicers where you impale the orange half on a conical thing. If you don't have a juicer, you might try squeezing by hand and/or with the back of a spoon, but try not to mess up the peel too much, because you're going to need it.

Put the juice aside and cut the spent orange halves into segments. Remove the squished pulp. It's not used in the recipe, but it's still good eating. Now lay each segment zest-side down and slice away the pith with a paring knife or other small, non-serrated knife. Watch the fingers. (If you don't know, the zest is the orange stuff on the outer part of the peel and the pith is the yellowy, bitter stuff on the inner part of the peel.)

Throw away the pith and slice the zest into little strips, about an eight of an inch thick. Put the zest strips into a saucepan with the juice from the orange and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the liquid is almost boiled away, stirring often. The zest will be coated with a sort of sticky juice reduction. Scrape it out of the saucepan and put it on a plate. I left it for a couple of hours in the fridge to dry out, but really I don't know how much difference this made; it never got completely dry. So skip this step if you don't have time, in which case you don't even have to turn off the burner. But you'll probably want to use a clean saucepan for the next step. Chocolate changes its texture if you get liquid into it when it's melted.

In the clean saucepan (or in the orange-juicy saucepan if you couldn't care less about your chocolate's texture—I mean, it's chocolate, right?) melt the dark chocolate over low heat. The traditional way to do this is with a double-boiler, to prevent burning. I don't have a double-boiler, so I just use the lowest setting on my electric stove. If you have a gas stove, I suppose you might not be able to get away with this. And if it's a warm day, leaving the chocolate out in the sun for a while might also be an option.

Use a rubber or silicone spatula to scrape the melted chocolate out onto a cookie sheet, aluminum pie plate, or something else flexible. (If it hardens on something rigid, like a plate, you may have trouble detaching it.) Finally, sprinkle the juicy orange peel over top. Oh sure, you could have just stirred the peel into the chocolate, the way you would with almonds if making an almond bark, but the orange peel is such a pretty colour, especially against the dark background of the chocolate, that that would be a shame. This way, you can listen to your friends ooh and ah over the beauty of your candy. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. It's a nice thing to bring to dinner parties. Or you can stay home and eat it all yourself, which is the option my husband and I chose.

Sorry I don't have a picture. It didn't last that long. I'll see about taking one next time I make this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.

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