Showing posts with label Candy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Candy. Show all posts

Friday, July 15, 2016

Strawberry Marshmallows

Once a month the movie theatre in the town I live in has a midweek afternoon and evening showing of an art house, indie, and/or award winning foreign film. Almost always the theatre is packed for the afternoon screening, although there aren't usually long lines at the concession stand. The audience is, if I were to venture a guess, somewhere between the ages of 65 and 70, regardless of the time of year. Apparently there are not many 20, 30, 40, and 50 year olds willing to play hooky from work, skip a day of shopping, or give themselves a break from life's other responsibilities to go to the movie theatre to see a compelling afternoon film. If there was ever a reason to fully embrace the 'life is short' mantra, then spending a couple of hours in the middle of the day in a theatre watching a film taking you on a visual and/or emotional journey, reminding you wittiness will never be over-rated, or giving you a sense of euphoria over being intellectually challenged, well those might be reasons enough. Why should anyone have to wait until their retirement years to experience a mid-week afternoon matinee? And let's not forget about having access to freshly made, not sitting all day, popcorn. Lightly buttered, because after all, if you are going to completely espouse the 'life is short' philosophy, you aren't going to skip out on the butter.

While I am not yet in the average age demographic of those attending the afternoon showing Papa Hemingway in Cuba this past week, I left with a couple of takeaways from this good (not exactly Golden Globe or Academy Award winning great) film. Until seeing this movie, Cuba was not on my bucket list of places I would like to someday see. It is now. And although I have read my share of Ernest Hemingway books, it was a quote attributed to him in the film that resonated with me. "The only value we have as human beings is the risks we are willing to take." While it has been several days since I have seen the movie, I can't seem to get that quote and all of its' implications out of my head. Would love to see where those words took a conversation with friends over some mojitos or margaritas. If anything, maybe I could convince some of them to play hooky and go to an afternoon matinee with me.

The relatively short strawberry season may be winding down but these Strawberries Marshmallows may be one way to make it a year round one. The moment I saw famed chocolatier, chef, cookbook author Alice Medrich's Strawberry Marshmallows posted I knew I wanted to make them. Only rather try a new marshmallow recipe, I would make them using the Fluffy Marshmallow recipe posted to this blog. It wasn't that I didn't trust this culinary maven's recipe, it's just some days are just less adventurous, less risk-taking ones in the kitchen than others. And this was one of those days.

The flavor for these Strawberry Marshmallow comes from pulverized freeze-dried strawberries. Not to be confused with dried or oven dried strawberries, freeze-dried strawberries are more flavorful and free of added sugar. Use either a small food processor or mortar and pestle to grind the freeze-dried strawberries. Whether I was still distracted from the film or any other number of thoughts continuously competing for attention in my head, I used only 16 grams (an amount a smidgeon above the recommendation of Alice Medrich) of the freeze-dried strawberries. It was only after I finished making them and looking back at her recipe that I realized the ratio of ingredients in my marshmallow recipe was almost double hers. I would have to wait almost 24 hours before learning whether or not this was a mistake.

What differentiates these marshmallows from others is the incorporation of two beaten egg whites. The egg whites are beaten until stiff peaks form, but the whipped eggs should remain creamy, not dry or stiff. They are added to the triple in volume marshmallow mixture along with the vanilla and ground strawberries.

Working quickly the marshmallows are poured into the prepared plan.  The use of an offset spatula helps to even out the mixture and create a texture to the top. About a quarter cup of the confectionary sugar/cornstarch mixture is generously sifted over the top. Allow the marshmallows to set up (uncovered) overnight in a cool place.

Before cutting the marshmallows (first in long strips), prepare a bowl of the confectionary sugar/cornstarch mixture. Each marshmallow should be tossed in the mixture and then gently shaken (using a sieve) to remove the excess.

 If I were using these marshmallows to make smores, I would cut then in 2 inch squares. But for marshmallow to be enjoyed all on their own, cutting them into approximately 1 inch square makes for the perfect bite.

 Using a long, thin, sharp knife to cut the long strips, but use a pair of sharp scissors to cut the individual squares.

For a fresh from the candy store look presentation, I like using white mini-muffin papers. Note: My favorites are the ones from Williams-Sonoma.

As I was cutting the marshmallows the aroma of the strawberries filled the air. So even before I tasted them, I was feeling like my use of 16 grams of the freeze-dried strawberries may not have been a mistake after all.

The taste of the Strawberry Marshmallows was like a sweet gentle strawberry kiss. And the ones dipped in milk chocolate was like eating a chocolate covered strawberry. If I want a deeper strawberry flavor the next time I make them, I would increase the amount of freeze-dried strawberries somewhere between 20 and 22 grams. Although I liked the more subtle flavor of strawberry in these marshmallows so it is going to be a tough decision.

I have always loved chocolate covered marshmallows. But I have never tasted a chocolate covered marshmallow as delicious as these. These have definitely raised the chocolate covered marshmallow bar!

If you have never had a springy, fluffy, light, melt in your mouth homemade marshmallow before, you must give yourself that experience. Especially a pale pink strawberry one. If you have never made them before, you must! Especially on a day when you are feeling fearless in the kitchen! Of all of the risks you consider taking in your life, think of this one as one having only the best of outcomes! And every once in awhile give yourself permission to play hooky and take in an afternoon matinee or Cubs game on a glorious summer day. Life is short.

Strawberry Marshmallows (marshmallow recipe adapted from Bon Appetit July 2008 and inspiration for strawberry marshmallows from Alice Medrich)

3 1/2 envelopes (2 Tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons or 7/8 ounce) unflavored gelatin (recommend Knox)
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large egg whites (beaten until they hold stiff peaks)
1 Tablespoon vanilla
16-18 grams freeze-dried strawberries, pulverized in a food processor or using a mortar and pestle. Recommend the ones sold at Trader Joe's.
1/2 cup confectionary sugar, sifted
1/2 cup cornstarch, sifted (recommend Maizena)
 1 pound Milk chocolate, melted (optional)

1. Lightly spray bottom and sides of 13"x9"x2" rectangular metal baking pan. Line baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly spray with vegetable oil. Dust bottom and sides of paper lined pan with a mixture of the sifted confectionary sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, add gelatin. Pour 1/2 cup very cold water over gelatin. Let stand to soften.
3. In a heavy 3 quart saucepan, combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup cold water. Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved.
4. Increase heat to moderate and allow mixture to come to a bowl until it reaches 240 degrees (F) on a candy thermometer. Note: Do not stir mixture while boiling.
5. Remove pan from heat and slow pour mixture over gelatin mixture while mixer is running. After all of the sugar syrup is poured into the bowl, increase speed to high and beat until the mixture is white, thick, shiny and nearly tripled in volume (approximately 10-12 minutes).
6. Beat in egg whites, vanilla, and ground freeze-dried strawberries until well blended. 
7. Working quickly pour into prepared pan. Smooth top with an offset spatula.
8. Sprinkle top with a mixture of the sifted confectionary sugar and cornstarch. Allow to set overnight (uncovered).
9. Run a thin knife along edge of marshmallows and cut into 1 inch squares. Note: Cut strips of marshmallows with a long thin knife, but cut strips of marshmallows with sharp scissors.
10. Toss marshmallows in the remaining mixture of the sifted confectionary sugar and cornstarch. To gently shake off excess toss in a coarse sieve. Allow to set for several hours before putting into a container.
11. Store marshmallows in an airtight container at cool room temperature for up to a week.
12. Optional: Dip the tops of the marshmallows in melted milk chocolate. Allow to set. Note: I dipped only the tops of the Strawberry Marshmallows in the melted milk chocolate.
Notes: For a stronger strawberry flavor in the marshmallows increase the amount of freeze-dried strawberries to somewhere between 20 and 22 grams.

Bortell's Landing, one of the best seafood restaurants in Michigan (Pentwater, MI).

Monday, April 25, 2016

Roasted Almond Chocolate Bars

Sometimes I am a little late to the party. Well, sort of. Almost a year ago I bought the "The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins. It was one of several books I brought up to Pentwater (MI) during a short three day stay with my sister and her family during the week following the Fourth of July holiday. Only I never got around to reading it. Looking at the growing stack of books on and surrounding my nightstand, I decided this book had waited it's turn long enough. After reading just the first few pages I wondered how it was I waited so long. Serendipitously I learned the film version of the book was due for an early fall release as I was two-thirds of the way into it. For those of you who, like me, may have put off or started but stopped reading this well-written, intense, suspenseful, Hitchcockian-like psychological thriller, all I will say is "you have five months to finish it before the film opens in October."Because why let your heart race just once? 

More than likely you are going to need some chocolate or wine (or something stronger) to settle your mind and heart down during as well as after reading this book. Consider this my way of subtly influencing you to indulge yourself in a bit of chocolate. All in the spirit of your best interests, of course. However, not any chocolate or chocolate bar will do. This would be one of those times you don't want to settle for anything less than homemade. Because you need or rather you deserve a really, really good bar of chocolate. Like, for example, these Roasted Almond Chocolate Bars. Did I tell you yet they are lightly sprinkled with sea salt?

The bars can be made with either milk or dark chocolate. These were made using both milk and white chocolates. The quality of your chocolate matters so choose a really good one.

If there is one baking or candy bar making technique you should never ever skip, it is roasting your nuts. Beyond improving the intensity of their flavor, roasted nuts stay crispier whether they are coated in chocolate, mixed in with a batter, sprinkled on the sides of a cake, or used in a savory dish. And the best part? Their magical transformation takes place in less than 10 minutes in a 350 degree (F) preheated oven. As an added benefit, the aroma in your kitchen will be temporarily intoxicating. On a side note, I store my 'unroasted' nuts in the refrigerator to lengthen their lifespan as they can easily go rancid sitting in the cabinet.

There are a number of different methods for melting chocolate: In a double-boiler, in the microwave, or in a water bath. The key in any of the methods using water is to ensure it doesn't get into the chocolate as water will cause chocolate to seize. Resulting in ruined grainy mess. Chopping your chocolate aids with the melting process as you don't want the chocolate to spend any more time over the heat than necessary. Tempering chocolate is key to creating a smooth texture as well as ensuring the finished chocolate will have a kind of glossy look to them. To achieve this look, reserve about 1/4 of the chopped chocolate. Add it to the melted chocolate, stirring continuously (but gently) until it completely melts.

As soon as all of the chocolate is melted, stir in the coarsely chopped roasted almonds and spread into your prepared pan. Tempered chocolate begins to solidify quickly so it's important you aren't distracted by anyone during this phase of making the Roasted Almond Chocolate Bars.

The first time I tasted chocolate lightly sprinkled with sea salt I knew it would be hard to go back to eating chocolate without it. Sea salt and chocolate were meant to be together. Sort of like wine with cheese, garlic in a red sauce, dijon mustard in a vinaigrette. You get the picture.  

These Roasted Almond Chocolate Bars don't have to be bars. They can be cut into smaller squares or broken up into pieces of bark. Whatever final form these bars take really doesn't matter. It only matters that you make them, sooner rather than later. Your friends and heart will thank you. And it's quite possible you may never buy one of those an off the shelf begins with an "H" chocolate-almond candy bars again.

Roasted Almond Chocolate Bars

1 pound milk chocolate (or 1 pound of dark chocolate), chopped
2 ounces of white chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cups whole almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
Sea salt for sprinkling

1. Line a 9"x12" baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Melt 3/4 of the chopped chocolates (total weight of both chocolates) using your preferred melting method. Remove from heat and stir in remaining chopped chocolates, stirring until fully melted and smooth.
3. Immediately stir in chopped almonds.
4. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Allow to set for 5 minutes. Place pan the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes, or until chocolate is set enough for you to cut into desire shapes. Note: If chocolate is still to 'wet' your cuts will not be clean. 
5. Return pan of cut chocolate to the refrigerator until chocolate is fully set. Approximately 15-20 minutes. Remove from refrigerator and break into pieces.
6. Serve immediately. Store Roasted Almond Chocolate Bars in a sealed container in a cool location.

1. For a chocolate presence on your cheese platters, use dark chocolate and cut into small squares or triangles.
2. Substitute roasted macadamia nuts or cashews for the pecans.
3. If using dark chocolate, consider using coarsely broken salted pretzels (using the small rings or pretzel shapes) when making the bars.
4. Use a high quality milk or dark chocolate (i.e., ones that can be used in candy making). Note: The chocolate sold at some of the craft stores is generally not high quality chocolate.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Peppermint Bark - Version 2

Tomorrow marks the official first day of winter. With the Winter Solstice marking the day with the fewest hours of sunlight, it feels more like the Winter Solstice has instead decided to infringe on the days leading up to it (at least around here anyway). The gray cloudy skies, the rare sightings of the sun, and the absence of snow is making it seem more like spring rather than winter will be arriving here in the midwest. The balmy weather forecast for the days leading up to Christmas are one of those unexpected, welcomed gifts from Mother Nature. Or maybe this is a sign I should be paying much closer attention to the climate change and global warming issues that seem to be dominating all political conversations except those in the presidential debates. However, at the moment my energies and attention are focused elsewhere, so I guess I will have to get up to speed in 2016.

When I went to make Peppermint Bark this past weekend I decided to make a slightly different version than the one I shared with you last year at this time. Taking a bite of the Peppermint Bark samples being handed out at Williams-Sonoma inspired me to make a few tweaks.

There are very subtle differences between last year's recipe and this one. Although if I was forced to choose between the two, I am might choose this one.

Dark or semi-sweet chocolate, white chocolate, peppermint extract (not oil), and crushed candy canes create one of the holidays most refreshing confections. With simple recipes, the quality of ingredients matters. In other words, do not use the bags of chocolate chips you put into your cookies as they are contain stabilizers that don't allow them to achieve the silky, shiny melted chocolate taste and look this bark needs.

You can crush your own candy canes (a good way to take out some of the holiday stress), use prepackaged peppermint crunch chips, or use a combination of both.

For this version of the Peppermint Bark, I reduced the amount of peppermint extract from 1/2 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon and mixed in four (4) ounces of crushed candy canes into the white chocolate. The remaining two (2) ounces of crushed candy canes were sprinkled on top of the melted white chocolate. Incorporating some of the crushed candy canes into the white chocolate gave this bark a great texture.

Some recipes call for chilling the bottom layer of dark or semi-sweet chocolate in the refrigerator before pouring on the melted white chocolate, however, if too chilled the two layers may not adhere to one another. So my advice is to not chill the bottom layer, but rather let it partially set up sitting out on a counter as the room temperature bottom layer of chocolate will bond better with the 'warmer' melted white chocolate.

After the white chocolate layer was sprinkled with candy cane/peppermint chips, you have two options. Allow the Peppermint Bark to set up in the refrigerator (for approximately 10 minutes) or allow it to set up on its' own. To create less random sized pieces of Peppermint Bark, cut into desired shapes and sizes  before the bark has fully set up using a thin, sharp knife. After cutting the bark into pieces, either return the tray to the refrigerator to allow each piece to fully firm up or allow it to set up on its' own by putting the tray in a cool place before plating or packaging. In some families, Peppermint Bark is an expected holiday tradition, one where it wouldn't be the 'holidays' without it. Sort akin to the 'I am dreaming of a White Christmas' expectation all of us who grew up in the midwest have come to count on and remember. If by any chance there is not any snow (expected or not) for your holiday, at least make sure you have a platter of some of this Peppermint Bark.

I am almost certain this is my only blog post for the week (although stranger things have happened). If all goes well for this year's holiday meal, next week's recipes will shift from candies and confections to 'real food'.

Merriest and happiest of holiday wishes to all of you! "May your walls know joy, may every room hold laughter, and every window be open to great possibility." (Mary Anne Radmacher) 

Peppermint Bark - Version 2

16-18 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate (55-62% cocao), coarsely chopped
16-18 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 ounces crushed candy canes, divided (e.g., 6-12 medium sized candy canes) OR 6 ounces of packaged crushed peppermints (like Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips)
1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (recommend Nielsen-Massey Pure Peppermint Extract)
Optional: Edible white glitter flakes

1. Line an 18"x13" baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Over a pot of simmering water, melt the coarsely chopped dark or semi-sweet chocolate. Pour onto prepared baking and spread evenly using an offset spatula. Allow to partially set (but do not refrigerate).
3. Over a pot of simmering water, melt 12-14 ounces of the coarsely chopped white chocolate. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 4 ounces of white chocolate to temper mixture. 
4. Stir in peppermint extract and 4 ounces of crushed candy canes. Stir until combined. Pour evenly over the partially set dark or semi-sweet chocolate. Carefully and evenly spread using an offset spatula.
5. Immediately sprinkle remaining two ounces and glitter flakes (if using) evenly over the white chocolate. 
6. Place pan of peppermint bark in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Remove from refrigerator and cut into desired shapes using a sharp knife. Or place the pan of peppermint bark in a cool place to partially set up. Note: Peppermint Bark is easier to cut into shapes before it has completely hardened.
7. Allow the Peppermint Bark to fully set before plating or packaging. Store Peppermint Bark in a tightly sealed container.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Orangettes aka Chocolate Covered Candied Orange Peels

Growing up I was mesmerized by the books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Of the many memorable stories told in each of her books, one particular Christmas scene has remained with me."Laura was wondering about the orange before her...she had once eaten part of an orange, so she knew how good an orange tastes." And after the party she couldn't help but say, "Oh, Ma, each one of us had a whole orange!' (Little Town on the Prairie) Reading Laura's elation over the gift of single piece of fruit not only gave my twelve year old heart a perspective on what it meant to be grateful, I began to understand the importance of showing genuine gratefulness, even for the smallest of kindnesses. Many years later I would learn of some of the symbolic significances behind the giving of oranges at the holidays. Now, as soon as December arrives, there is always a large glass bowl filled with clementines sitting on the counter or gracing a table. This year I decided it was time to find another way of incorporating oranges into the holiday season and into some of this year's gifts. Could there be anything more perfect than Orangettes?

Candied fruit has a storied history. Ancient Romans preserved fruit using honey more than 2,000 years ago. In the 14th century, candied fruits discovered by Europeans traveling to the Middle East became one of the confections brought back to France where they immediately gained in popularity. During the 18th century, candied lemons and oranges were some of the most sought after and elegant sweetmeats found in the larger cities in Colonial America. The imported citrus fruit and sugar used in the making of these candied jewels, sometimes called 'orange and lemon chips' made these early confections rare and costly ones. Today, these aromatic, flavorful, glistening candied orange peels dipped in chocolate are called Orangettes.

In the spirit of full disclosure I must tell you the making of candied orange peels is, well, slightly time and labor intensive. Oranges have to be peeled, sliced, blanched three times, drained, trimmed, blanched once more, simmered in a sugar syrup until they have a translucent quality, lightly tossed in superfine (caster) sugar, and dried all before they are either again rolled in sugar or dipped in melted chocolate. Please know after a single bite of this swoon-worthy confection your selective memory will come to your rescue and you will suddenly find yourself championing the adage 'nothing worth having comes easy'. It may be a losing battle to think your willpower is strong enough to keep you from eating only one piece of this candy perfection. But don't think of this loss as giving up. Think of it more as giving in to one of life's pleasures.

Years ago I searched for, found, and ultimately made some Orangettes. But for whatever reason I did not save that recipe (code for I couldn't find it). So again I had to go on the hunt. Only this time, I felt like I was on a never ending pilgrimage. After an exhausting search through cookbooks, reviewing online recipes with their accompanying comments, and watching several YouTube videos, the choice of oranges along with both the sugar syrup ingredients and process for making the Orangettes seemed to be all over the map. For a brief moment I thought about abandoning this journey. But for better or worse, giving up has never been one of my virtues (although circuit exercises continue to push me to the brink of raising the white flag).

Thin or thick skinned oranges? Thick won here making either Navel or Valencia oranges the best options. Cut or peel the orange rinds? I went with cutting them as there are more length and width options for the finished peels. A one to one sugar to water ratio, a two to one sugar to water ratio or some other ratio variation for the simple syrup? My head was spinning. I chose the 2-1 sugar to water ratio for some unexplainable reason. Add corn syrup or freshly squeezed lemon juice to keep the simple syrup from crystalizing? Lemon juice won out. But more on all of this keeper of a recipe later.

How thick or thin you make the strips of orange peel is a personal preference decision. Larger oranges as well as how you cut the oranges will influence the length of the strips. Scoring the orange from end to end or first cutting each end of the orange before scoring and removing the peel were both options used. My preference was for scoring the orange from end to end as it yielded longer strips of the rind.

Blanching the orange rinds removes any trace of their bitterness. In a wide, deep pan the orange rinds are covered with cold water. After the water is brought to a boil, the rinds continue to boil for two (2) minutes. After draining the pot of rinds, the rinds are blanched two more times (for a total of 3 at this point). After the third blanching, the peels are drained and cooled to the point where they can be handled.

Using a sharp pairing knife, the rinds are trimmed, leaving as much of the pith as desired. Be careful to not trim too much as the pith is what retains the sweetness once the peels are candied. The trimmed rinds are then blanched in cold water (bringing the total number of blanches to 4) and then drained. Note: If you cut your rinds into wide strips or you chose to leave more of the pith on, blanch for a 5th time.

A simple syrup made of two cups of water, four cups of granulated sugar, and two tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice are cooked until the sugar dissolves. The drained orange rinds are added, the mixture brought to a boil, and then reduced to a simmer.

The rinds cook for 60-90 minutes or until the peels look glassy and slightly transparent.

The rinds are removed from the syrup and placed on a drying rack.

After approximately 30 minutes the cooked rinds can be lightly tossed in caster (superfine) sugar and then returned again to the cooling rack. They will be very sticky at this point. Tossing the rinds in the sugar to assist in the drying process is an optional step, however, it makes them much easier to handle the next day when either dipping in melted chocolate or rolling in granulated sugar.

Allow the orange rinds to dry overnight on a cooling rack.

Orangettes can be completely or partially dipped in either semi-sweet or milk chocolate. The amount of chocolate you need will be dependent on how many orange peels you have candied as well as if they are completely or only partially dipped.

Melt two thirds of the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. Once melted, stir in the remaining one third of the chocolate (chopped) to temper. Tempering the chocolate enables it to retain a shine when it sets. Place the strips of orange rind on parchment paper to dry after they are dipped in the chocolate. If the orange peel strips partially dipped, the undipped portion can be sprinkled with granulated sugar after the chocolate has set. The dried overnight orange peels are equally delicious simply tossed in granulated sugar. Store and/or package Orangettes in sealed containers or in cellophane bags tied with a beautiful ribbon.

Don't let the number of steps involved sway you away from making these blissfully ambrosial confections. Once you have experienced the deliciousness of a glistening Orangette, you will never look at an orange rind or the gift of an orange the same again. Of all of the gifts you give this holiday season, there may be none more symbolic of gratitude than these simple chocolate covered candied orange peels. Or a more delicious new tradition.

Orangettes aka Chocolate Covered Candied Orange Peels (inspired from a compilation of candied orange peel recipes)

5-7 large Navel or Valencia oranges (find the ones having the thickest rinds)
4 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
Caster or granulated sugar for finishing (recommend India Tree's Caster Sugar)
1 1/2 pounds of semi-sweet or milk chocolate, chopped
Optional: Additional granulated sugar for rolling undipped or partially dipped orangettes

1. Wash oranges. Using a sharp knife, score the peel of the oranges into four wedges. Peel the thick skin wedges away from the fruit, discarding any of the loose pith fibers. Flatten each orange wedge and cut into strips in widths of preference. Note: Strips cut less than 1/4 inch may break when dipping in chocolate or rolling in granulated sugar.
2. Place orange rind strips in a wide, deep pan. Cover with cold water. Once the water comes to a boil, continue to boil for 2 minutes. Drain orange rinds. Repeat the blanching process two more times using fresh cold water each time. 
3. Trim some of the pith away from each of the rinds without going all the way down to the rind as the pith is what retains the sweetness once the peels candied.
4. Combine water, granulated sugar, and freshly squeezed lemon juice in a wide, deep pan. Over medium heat, cook until sugar dissolves. Add trimmed orange rinds and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and continue cooking for 60-90 minutes (or until rinds appear glassy and translucent). 
5. Using tongs, remove the strips of orange peel from the syrup and place on a wire rack to drain and cool (approximately 30 minutes).
6. When peels are cool enough to touch lightly toss in caster (superfine) sugar and return to a clean wire rack. Allow to air dry overnight.
7. Place two-thirds of the chopped chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. Once melted, stir in the remaining one-third of the chocolate to temper. Dip the strips of orange peel in the melted chocolate. Place on a sheet of parchment paper and allow chocolate to harden (set). Dipping options: (1) completely dip the entire orange rind; (2) dip half of the orange peel, allow chocolate to harden (set) and sprinkle granulated sugar on other half of the orange peel; or, (3) roll dried orange peels in granulated sugar. 
8. Store in an airtight container or sealed cellophane bag at room temperature for up to 4 weeks or in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
Note: Don't throw away the candied orange syrup. Use it in your cocktails or drizzle over cake or ice cream. Store this incredibly delicious syrup in a covered jar in the refrigerator.