Dark Chocolate Covered Orange Peels

My granddaughter, Jaina, and I make these every year at Christmastime, and we give them for gifts. I think she likes the idea of using orange peels that would normally go in the compost pile! They take a little fuss, but it is not difficult and require little in the way of ingredients. When we make this, we end up with oranges that you can quickly cut out the little sections or “supremes” for a tasty fruit salad – bonus leftovers!

Choose your chocolate

I’ve used dark chocolate here, 70% because that is what I like for these, and I think it blends well with the candied peels, If you have a sweeter tooth, use any % you like, remembering the lower the cocoa percentage, the higher the sugar content and thus the sweeter the chocolate will be, and milk chocolate actually does have dairy in it.

Always organic, you’re using the peel

This is one of those instances where you really need to buy organic. Citrus fruits in general harbor most of the pesticides used in growing in their peel, so if you plan on using the zest or whole peel, as here, of citrus, organic is really a must.

Let’s make this fun

The first time I made these, I drove myself crazy trying to cut the peels into uniform little strips. First of all, that was difficult enough, and secondly, I ended up with a lot of waste and not much in the way of actual strips! I love to fuss over gift foods for the holidays, but there is a limit, and in the end, the taste is what counts, and especially doing this with my granddaughter, it has to be fun!

A two- or three-for!

So I don’t worry about it so much. I end up with some pieces wider than others, close enough is perfect here. And my basic plan now is to use the narrower strips for a pretty dip with some of the orange showing, and I slice the wider ones into narrow strips to dunk the whole thing in. This gives me two pretty options for the treat tin, and the fact they are not uniform in size only adds to their charm. Actually, it’s a “three-for” since you can also reserve some to just dip in coarse sugar.

This makes quite a bit, but I usually double the recipe to keep everyone happy.

Family friendly

The best part? Every single person in the family and friends network love these, and they are gluten-free, nut-free (with the right chocolate of course, always check), vegan, low-fat, and pretty darn delicious!

Dark Chocolate Covered Orange Peels

  • 3 or 4 thick-skinned, organic oranges
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 to 8 ounces 70% bittersweet chocolate chips 

            Using a sharp paring knife, slice thick pieces of the orange peel, bitter pith and all, and taking just a bit of the flesh. These will shrink a little in the blanching and simmering process.

 Next, we trim the peels to even them up. They don’t all need to be the same size, but I like to even up ragged edges.

 Fill a pan halfway with water and add the orange slices. Bring to a boil and cook for a minute or so. Drain, rinse under cold water, and rinse out the pan. Repeat this process two more times! Like I said, it is a bit tedious, but not hard, and this step is necessary to remove some of the bitterness. 

 In a second pan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer until the sugar all dissolves.

After the last blanch, place the orange peels in the syrup pan and simmer for an hour and a half. You can do this in a low oven, 250 degrees.

Remove the peels from the syrup and place on a wire rack to dry overnight making sure they do not touch each other. In the morning, they will still be tacky.

Chocolate covered slices: 

Melt 6 to 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler or microwave oven. Dip the dried peels in the chocolate about two-thirds of the way, shake off any long drips, and set on the parchment or waxed paper to dry.

Fully covered chocolate strips:

Submerge the whole thing, fish out with a fork, shake the excess chocolate off, and set on the waxed paper to dry.

Crystalized orange slices:

After the night of rest, just roll the slices in coarse sugar, coating both sides. Let dry completely.

You will probably have chocolate left over. Dip dried apricots, pretzels, or fresh fruit slices to use it up, and let dry in the same manner.

            I’m not sure how long any of these will keep since they go pretty fast!

Real Christmas Snow – A great weekend to stay indoors and cook!

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64 Comments Add yours

  1. TaMara says:

    Those look so festive!

    1. Thank you! Christmas lights always help!

  2. Thanks for another great idea, making Christmas unforgettable. Best wishes for a wonderful weekend, Dorothy! xx Michael

    1. Thank you Michael! We are having a beautiful snow weekend, so I’m content to be in the kitchen and by the fire! Have a lovely weekend!

  3. Beautiful. Certainly something different for the holidays. I have never had this treat and it looks like they would be fun to make.

    1. It is universally loved by everyone here. Chocolate and orange!

  4. Suzassippi says:

    So pretty! Love the photo with the lights…and that some of the lights are orange!

    1. Ah, you noticed Suz! Thank you!

      1. Suzassippi says:

        But of course! You who color coordinates all food and dishes and linens, why not lights? I love looking at your works of art.

      2. Ah, you make me blush! 😊

  5. gabychops says:

    Thank you, Dorothy, for such a wonderful idea! I wish I had a beautiful helper t home!


    1. It does make the task fly by!

  6. Americaoncoffee says:

    Oh my! Good cooking is definitely all in the family!🔔☕️☕️💕🔔

    1. It sure is! All my grandkids love the kitchen!

  7. Marilou says:

    This is a great way to use Orange skin instead of throwing it .. good idea for edible gifts too

    1. Thank you Marilou. We gift them every year, and everyone looks forward to them.

  8. Chef Mimi says:

    Oh I love these. My mother made these and a grapefruit version when I was young, but was mad when I hated them. Now, I love them!

    1. Yum! I bet the grapefruit version is delightful!

  9. Fascinating. I’ve never made them nor even read how to make them so this was not only a sight for these eyes but a learning adventure. I just may have to try this. Thank you again, Miss Dorothy, for helping us expand our kitchen horizons.

    1. Thanks neighbor!
      They are fun to make, and as I said everyone in the family loves and looks forward to them.

  10. CarolCooks2 says:

    Oh chocolate and orange..,yummy …I have never tried to make these 🙂

    1. It is really a fun project to do with the kids. It’s messy though!
      But who doesn’t want to lick chocolate covered fingers?

      1. CarolCooks2 says:

        Absolutely maybe I will make them with Lily when she comes next she loves to cook and lick bowls and spoons etc and yes also fingers-smile

      2. I have many photos of my granddaughter Leola licking the beaters, or the spoon! Always with a light in her eyes!

  11. Sherry M says:

    i love the jaffa combo of chocolate and orange. Do they sell Jaffas in the US? choc-orange balls.

    1. I haven’t seen Jaffas for ages; the last time I had them was when I was in England. The flavor profile is exactly the same!

  12. Lovely! Your kitchen must smell extra-fantastic this time of year! 💕 🎄

    1. Right now, it still smells of oranges not just from these, but from my clementine cake as well!

  13. Gail says:

    You hit my weak spot with these yummy candies. Chocolate & Orange! 🍃🍊

    1. Thanks! I’m all for chocolate and orange in just about anything!

  14. Jenna says:

    How interesting, healthy and pretty!

    1. Thanks Jenna! As treats go, this one isn’t so naughty!

  15. Bernadette says:

    Merry Christmas Dot and may your new year bring you many reasons to smile. This is a wonderful post and put a smile on my face.

    1. Thanks Bernie! Your poss always bring a smile to my face as well!
      Have a warm and wonderful Christmas!

  16. brwbmm says:

    Thanks for the great recipe. I love candied fruit but have never tried to make it.

    1. It’s pretty easy, just a lot of steps to get the bitterness out of the rind. You should give it a try!

  17. Ronit says:

    Orange and chocolate is one of my most favorite combinations, so I would probably nibble on most of these, and not sure there will be much left to give away! 😀

    1. I definitely have to put them out of site!

  18. I have never made candied citrus peel, but know I should next time I make a cassata or other Italian dessert that uses it. It is possible to get the chocolate ‘nicer’ by tempering it, but that is very fussy. I’ve tried it a couple of times but thought it wasn’t worth the trouble.

    1. Funny you said that Stefan because I used to temper the chocolate, usually reserving a third of the chocolate to mix in and lower the temperature of the bulk already melted, and in the end, while a little shinier, it didn’t really add much more to the recipe.
      At this time of year, simpler is better, especially when the taste is not sacrificed.

  19. sunisanthosh says:

    Interesting idea. I love the smell of orange candy.

    1. These smell beautifully of orange and chocolate!

  20. NativeNM says:

    Your kitchen must smell like Christmas! I love candied oranges by themselves but a little dip in chocolate sounds tasty!

  21. Christy B says:

    I have never heard of these, Dorothy ~ They sound yummy! And how wonderful you have a helper who has so much fun making them with you 🙂

  22. terrie gura says:

    I have always loved getting dark, chocolate covered orange peel in candy shops, and now you have shown me how to make them at home. I just love you, Dorothy! 💕

    1. Thanks Terrie! I love you too!
      And I love making these every year. First of all, because every single person in the family can eat them and also loves them! I think there’d be a revolt if I didn’t make them. It’s one of my personal favorites too. I just have to stow them out of site so they don’t disappear before I get the tins packed!

      1. terrie gura says:

        Yes, you’d have to hide them from me, for sure! 😋

  23. My nana left me her recipe for candied citrus peel (and marmalade, of course) from the 1920s when the family owned an orange grove here in south Florida. I’ve never made the recipe, but now you’ve got me thinking about it. These look so delicious and perfect when dipped in chocolate. Gifting is always a good reason to make special recipes I wouldn’t otherwise. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. How wonderful to have those recipes Melanie! I hope you enjoy making them, and thinking about your nana with fingers covered in chocolate!

  24. I just had a piece of orange peel covered in dark chocolate 😋 not done by me but super delicious! Now I have also the right recipe 😉 Thanks Dorothy! I simply love the combination of orange and dark chocolate!

    1. It is really a magical flavor combination! My whole family now associates it with Christmastime!

  25. nancyc says:

    I love the idea of using orange peels for a holiday treat–I’ve heard they’re so good for you! Orange + chocolate sounds like a wonderful combination! 🙂

    1. From trash to treasure! Orange and chocolate are meant to be together!

  26. That’s it? I always wanted to make these and never did because I figured they would be so complicate. Thank you for sharing this!

    1. Not complicated at all, and so delicious!

  27. This is amazing. I never knew orange peels can be used for a dessert.

    1. Thank you! They are delightful, and one of my family’s favorite treats.

  28. Nancy says:

    I loved seeing the picture of your granddaughter making these!
    I never have tried… I’m fascinated!

    1. It’s so much fun, and has become a ritual that we missed during the covid lockdown.

  29. kevinashton says:

    I love this idea Dorothy 🙂

    1. Thanks Kevin! They were tasty indeed!

  30. Christy B says:

    There’s something about orange and chocolate that goes beautifully together! 🧡🤎

    1. It’s definitely one of my favorite combos!

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