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Everything’s better dipped in chocolate

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I recently had an experience at a friend’s open studio that reminded me that the desire to create daring, exotic chocolate delicacies lies deep within the heart of a few of us chocolate lovers. We look for ways to use chocolate to create unusual desserts and tasty treats.

Liza Dalby, author of Geisha and Tale of Murasaki, had brought a plate of homemade delicacies to share. Liza’s years-long immersion into Japanese culture no doubt primed her for aesthetic food presentations. At first glance I wasn’t sure what they were. A closer look revealed colorful, chocolate-dipped orange peels…stunning squiggles on a green plate…a real taste-bud adventure.

Liza remembers them only as decorations on the table during the holidays. The combination of tart and sweet didn’t appeal to her as a child. But years later some friends brought some over, and she thought to herself, “What an intense little nibble!”

Her memory flashed back to those hand-dipped, homemade, tart treats from her childhood…and she knew she had to recreate them. And let’s face it — dipping almost anything in chocolate makes it fabulous!

citrus rinds and melted chocolateCitrus rinds by themselves are usually used for punctuation — like the “twist” on a cocktail or the “zest” in orange bread. Pairing a pomelo or orange rind with chocolate is something that would only occur to a daring few. But boil them in a sugar syrup, and the bitterness that we associate with these colorful outer skins fades away, leaving a tangy sweetness which, when dipped in dark chocolate, exposes the taste-buds to a heavenly experience.

Liza shared her recipe with me, chuckling that I had asked her for it rather than either of her two “foodie” daughters who typically hold the limelight in the kitchen.

Chocolate-Dipped Orange Peels

boiling sugar water 1. Bring 4 ½ cups sugar and 1 ½ cups water to a boil, and keep bubbling on low heat.

2. Meanwhile cut 4 navel oranges nose and tail; then cut into quarters and remove orange meat; cut rind into strips.

cut orange

orange rinds in saucepan
3. Put rinds into saucepan; cover with cold water and bring to a boil.

4. Cook 5-10 minutes, strain, and discard water.

5. Put boiled rinds into the bubbling syrup.

spicing orange rinds
6. Cook 15-20 minutes; remove rinds and put into a Ziplock bag with sugar, mango powder, ginger, and rosemary; and shake well. [NOTE: We made several spice variations as well, such as cinnamon & cardamom, lavender, ginger & mace, and clove & allspice.]

drying orange rinds 7. Spread rinds on cookie sheets, and let dry 1 day.

scharffen berger chocolate 8. When rinds are dry, melt 6 oz. of dark chocolate of your choice in saucepan.

[VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: If you plan to give your chocolate-dipped orange slices as gifts or serve them to others, you must temper your chocolate as you heat it. Otherwise, the cooled chocolate will develop “bloom,” white-ish markings that resemble blooming flowers, but are not as attractive as they sound. Tempering the chocolate will make it nice and shiny.]

finished chocolate dipped orange rinds 9. Dip rinds halfway in chocolate. Place on waxed paper to dry.

Whoever thought of dipping sweetened citrus rinds in chocolate had to have been a culinary dare devil. But the combination — like pepper and strawberries — is oddly pleasing and worth a try.

About chocfull

Chocolate transcends all worlds. My work in the world of arts management is certainly not exempt, and I consider chocolate a saving grace when the going gets tough. There could be no greater joy for me than seeking out, tasting, and reviewing chocolate with my tai chi friends -- and sharing our discoveries!

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Date posted: November 30, 2010. This entry was posted in Recipes and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Everything’s better dipped in chocolate

  1. For some good tips on successful strawberry dipping, read the article in the Feb. 2, 2011 Sacramento Bee, “Shari Fitzpatrick shares berry good chocolate-dipping tips” (http://www.sacbee.com/2011/02/02/3369249/shari-fitzpatrick-shares-berry.html).