Introduction: Gourmet Chocolate Orange

This Instructable will teach you to make a fancy-pants chocolate orange using REAL chocolate and REAL oranges. Chocolate oranges are a Christmas favorite in my half-British family, but sometimes they can be hard to find in the United States. However, you should be able to make these chocolate oranges with ingredients you may already have in your own home!

I also wanted to be able to make Fair Trade and/or vegan chocolate oranges for friends with refined tastes and/or ethics.In this Instructable, I will make Fair Trade milk chocolate orange truffles with candied orange skins on the outside. However, I will give guidelines for making vegan chocolate oranges.

As a special bonus, you will also learn about my quirky culinary improvisations, such as my iron skillet double boiler and unusual uses for a flat metal grater.

This recipe will make 12 chocolate orange slices. I found that 6 slices together make enough of a sphere to suggest an orange.

Although I think of chocolate oranges as a Christmas treat, they might also be a nice romantic gesture for a sweetheart or media naranja. Please, if you don't know about the phrase "media naranja" or "orange half," look it up! It's adorable!

In this Instructable you will learn to make Orange chocolate "ganache" (Steps 1-3) and Candied orange peels (Steps 4-7)
Then you will assemble everything into a chocolate orange with candied peel (Step 8).

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Step 1: Ingredients for Chocolate Orange "ganache" Truffle

I say ganache inside quotation marks because this part of the recipe is actually the result of repeated failures. Originally I had planned to just melt chocolate, flavor it with orange, and then make it into the shape of orange slices. What I discovered after extensive experimentation is that orange will cause chocolate to seize. I'm sure someone has a suggestion for another way to deal with this, but here is the improvised ganache I made through experimentation. It actually results in something a bit more solid than a real ganache.

For a proper ganache, check out Anatomy of a Truffle's instructions. Following the basic recipe, add orange with the cream and butter. For my version and/or a vegan version, read on below!

Ingredients the chocolate orange "ganache"
--7.05 OZ or 200g of chocolate (about 2 bars), chopped into chunks no larger than 1cm squared. For the outer chocolate shell you will need another 100g-200g of chocolate.
The chocolate can be milk or dark according to taste, however try to pick something classy. I find that higher quality chocolate makes for better results. Fillers can make the chocolate unpredictable. If you can find high-quality chocolate chips you can skip the chopping stage, but often chips are inferior.

--A generous tablespoon of butter, vegan margarine, or really any kind of oil or fat that doesn't have offensive taste
For you vegans, I've had a lot of success making chocolate truffles with full-fat coconut milk--just scoop off the creamy solids that rise to the top and reserve most of the coconut milk for some other cooking project.

--The zest of half an orange
Feel free to use more zest. You can also use orange extract.

--Warm water

You will also need:
--Some form of double boiler
As you will see, I like to use a cast iron skillet with some water in it, with a saucepan over top.

--A silicone mold in the shape of citrus segments.
You may need to google to find this, try looking for novelty ice trays as well as candy making supplies.
I got mine from Lakeland while visiting my gran.
Alternatively you could make your own with food-grade silicone inspired by great Instructables like LeGummies.
You can also just make wedges by making round truffles and molding them into a crescent shape.

--A zesting grater

--A spatula, knife, cutting board, you know...

--A fridge!

NOTE: If you are gathering ingredients for the whole Instructable, don't forget to look at Step 4: Ingredients for Candying Orange Peels.

Step 2: Making the Orange "ganache"

Chop the 7.05 OZ/200g chocolate and add put it into your double boiler to melt slowly. Stir gently on a low heat, the chocolate should be shiny and smooth in texture (see photo).

Add the orange zest and butter/margarine to the melted chocolate. The chocolate will probably seize and look disgusting and perhaps a bit like poo (see photo). DO NOT PANIC!

Remove from heat. Add the warm water (or milk/cream if you'd like a richer filling) until the chocolate begins to look smooth and shiny again(see photo).

Step 3: Molding the Orange Truffles

Once you have achieved a smoothed out "ganache", pour it into your mold and put it into the fridge for about an hour. While you are waiting you can start working on the next step, making the candied peels.

If you are anything like me, you will accidentally pour a bunch of extra ganache everywhere. Try to scrap off excess with the rubber spatula before refrigerating.

Now, onward! Peel time!

Step 4: Ingredients for Candying Orange Peels

For the orange peels, I basically followed applesticker's Instructable for making Candied Citrus Peels. However, I improvised and hippified this version slightly, proving you can use unrefined (vegan) sugar and you don't need to use a colander or wire rack. Instead you can substitute with a grater and a slotted spoon, which is helpful if you live in a small apartment like me and don't have a colander or wire rack! I also only candied one orange worth of peel, and was able to do it in a small saucepan.

You will need:
--One orange

--1 cup of water

--1 cup of granulated sugar, plus about another cup reserved for sugaring the peels after candying.
I used unrefined sugar, but be forewarned, when you melt it in the water it will look like dirty dishwater. It turns out just fine though.

--A paring knife

--A slotted spoon and flat grater OR if you have to be normal you can use a colander and a wire drying rack as applesticker did.

Step 5: Prepping and Boiling the Orange Peels

Before the candying process, you will need to prep the orange peel. Cut an orange into four quarters then cut as much of the flesh out as possible. Cut each quarter into thirds and you will have 12 peel slices--one for each chocolate orange segment. Try to remove as much of the white pulp from the peel as possible. You may want to refer to applesticker's advice for preparing the peels.

Don't forget to eat the insides of the orange after peeling!

Before candying the orange peels you also have to boil them. This apparently takes away the bitter flavors. Place the peels in a saucepan and just cover with cold water. Put the saucepan and peels onto the stove and heat to a boil. Allow to boil for about a minute and then drain off the water.

Then, it is suggested you repeat this process starting with fresh cold water. Applesticker's Instructable suggests you do this three times. I like to do everything the lazy way, so I only boiled them twice. In future I may try just blanching once, if any of you try it, please comment and tell me how it goes!

Step 6: Check on the Truffle Chocolate Orange Segments

You can actually do this at the same time as you work on boiling (previous step), or during the candying (next step).

You may recall we put some orange chocolate truffles in the fridge. You might want to check on them now and if they seem solid pop them out of the mold. If some turn out slightly lumpy, you can gently reform them.Then put them onto a plate or tray and pop them back in the fridge. You want them to be really cold before coating them in chocolate and assembling with the peels.

Step 7: Candying the Orange Peels

Okay! Back to the orange peels.

Candy time!
Mix one cup of sugar with one cup of water in a saucepan. Place on stove on medium heat to melt the sugar. You will note that my melting sugar looks a bit like dirty dishwater, this is because I used unrefined sugar. If you use refined sugar it will produce a clear syrup, see applesticker's Instructable for some examples. Bring the water-sugar mixture to boil.

Once the syrup is boiling and the sugar has dissolved, add in the peels. Simmer the peels for about an hour. They should be soft and translucent.

Lift the peels out of the syrup with a slotted spoon and place them on a drying rack, or be as eccentric as I am and place them on a flat grater to cool.

If anyone comes up with a suggestion for uses for the left over syrup, let me know. I feel bad wasting it!
--Thanks to azurelunatic who suggested "You can use the syrup to flavor hot chocolate, coffee, or soda water. You can also cook it down further and use it to make hard candies."Boiling down to make hard candies seems to be key, because I tried molding the syrup to see if it would harden when cooled and it was too watery.

Sugar time!
Once the peels are cool enough to touch, cover each one in sugar.

Step 8: Chocolate Dip and Assembly!

With our peels candied, we are nearly finished!

Chocolate dip:
First we will need to coat the orange chocolate truffles with an outer shell of chocolate. This can be made with the same kind of chocolate as was used in the inner layer. It is very important that you do not put orange zest or extract into the chocolate for the outer shell. The outer shell needs to be hard and shiny and orange seems to make the chocolate seize.

Put between 100g and 200g of chocolate, chopped, into a double boiler and melt slowly.

Once the chocolate has melted, remove it from the heat. Take out the truffles (which should be chilling in the fridge) and one by one dip them into the chocolate, turning them over to coat evenly on all sides. It may be helpful to use a fork or spoon, but I find this is best done the dirty way--using your hands.

After you have coated everything in a chocolate shell, turn your attention as quickly as possible to assembly. First, wash your hands to avoid getting chocolate on the outside of the candied peels. But move quickly!

Pick up one of the candied peels, hopefully it is still warm and flexible. If it has gotten cold and hard you may need to heat it for about 10 seconds in the microwave to soften. It needs to be warm and flexible to wrap around the truffle slice. The melted chocolate should be enough for the peel to adhere.

Once assembled pop them back into the fridge to cool until the chocolate shell and candied peel get hard.

Step 9: You're Done!

Enjoy them right away or wrap in cling film and orange tissue before giving to a love one!

The slices look nice by themselves, but I chose to group them into groups of at least 6 slices arranged in a sphere.

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