Chocolate dipped orange slices are one of my favorite treats to make. They do take time, but really very little effort, and the final product is so beautiful and delicious. And if you needed even more reasons why they're amazing, the sugar water that you simmer the oranges in becomes a beautiful simple syrup that you can use for cocktails. If you need a food-related gift, Candied Blood Oranges with Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt are a great thing to make.
As always, I do include a few affiliate links in this post for products I truly use and love. This just means that if you make a purchase after clicking one of those links, I'll earn a little money (at no cost to you) to keep the kitchen up and running, which I promise to use to create more fun content like this! One of those affiliates is with Amazon, which requires a very clear disclosure: as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you have any questions about affiliates, please reach out!
Ingredients you'll need
- Blood oranges: you could actually use any kind of orange here -- they will all work (keep in mind that smaller oranges are better for this)! I highly recommend blood oranges as they are beautiful when they're dried.
- Granulated sugar: you'll mix sugar and water to simmer the oranges and give them some additional sweetness.
- Dark chocolate: use good-quality chocolate for dipping your oranges. I like to use Lindt dark chocolate (it's dairy-free!).
- Flaky sea salt: I like to use Maldon salt, but any flaky sea salt with a large flake will work well. This just adds a little finishing touch to the chocolate dipped orange slices!
- Almonds, or other nuts (optional) for sprinkling
Equipment you'll need
These are a few things I like to use and would highly recommend:
- Gramercy Kitchen Co. Mandoline from Amazon: slicing the oranges to be thin, but more importantly, uniform, is critical for chocolate dipped orange slices. If they're not thin, it will take a very long time for them to dry (we're talking days, here, literally). And if they're not uniform, you'll have some that dry, and others that take way longer. I cannot recommend enough that you use a mandoline for the slicing rather than trying to cut them freehand.
- A large skillet or sauté pan, such as the Caraway Sauté Pan: The important thing is that your pan is deep enough and wide enough to hold the liquid + orange slices. We want to allow as much surface area as possible for more orange slices!
- Nordic Ware Cooling Racks from Amazon: you'll want to make sure your slices are on cooling racks (rather than on a towel or cutting board on the countertop) so they get as much airflow as possible to help the drying process.
Slicing your oranges
I cannot emphasize enough that slicing your oranges is the most important part of this recipe. I slice mine at 3-4mm, but that's likely the thinnest slice possible. If you go thinner, you run the risk of your slices falling apart, and if you go thicker, they'll take a longer time to dry. It's also very important for the slices to be consistent so they'll all dry at the same time.
Blood Orange Simple Syrup
Once you've simmered the oranges, make sure to save the sugar water! After simmering, this has now become Blood Orange Simple Syrup and is great to use in cocktails. It's also a fantastic gift. Let it cool and transfer to a jar or bottle and store in the fridge for up to one month. The syrup may last longer. It's gone bad if there is an unpleasant odor, a cloudiness, or mold.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use any type of oranges for this recipe?
Yes, you can! Keep in mind that larger oranges will take up more space in your pan, so it's often easier to use a smaller variety of orange. Also, some oranges have a thicker peel than others. That's ok! The peel will be candied and edible, but if you prefer more fruit interior vs. peel, then I'd recommend using an orange variety with a thinner peel.
How should I prep the oranges?
Firstly, make sure to wash them. You're not peeling them, so you'll want to make sure they are clean. While you're slicing, remove any seeds and plith (the white center) that you can easily pull off.
How long will it take the oranges to dry?
It depends on how thick your slices are, but for slices that are 3-4mm, it should take about 24 hours to dry. Keep in mind that a dry slice will still be somewhat sticky / tacky (fruit is sticky, and it will have simmered in sugar water). It just needs to be dry enough to work with it and hold its shape.
What should I do with the sugar water?
Once you've simmered the oranges, you'll be left with a beautiful orange simple syrup that you can keep and use for cocktails! This also makes a very nice gift.
Below is my recipe for Candied Blood Oranges with Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt. I hope you enjoy!
Candied Blood Oranges with Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt
- 4 blood oranges sliced to 3-4mm
- 12 cups water divided
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 8 ounces dark chocolate coarsely chopped
- 1-2 teaspoons flaky sea salt for topping
- 2 Tablespoons almonds (optional) coarsely chopped
- Wash and slice your oranges to 3-4mm using a mandoline. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.
- Bring six cups water to boil in a large skillet or sauté pan. Add the orange slices and boil for 2 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of ice water and discard water from your pan. This blanching process helps to mellow the bitterness of the oranges.
- In your same pan, add 6 cups water and 3 cups sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until sugar has dissolved. Turn heat to low and add orange slices. Simmer for 45 minutes, or until the rinds are slightly translucent, gently stirring every 15 minutes to make sure the oranges are evenly coated.
- Transfer oranges to a cooling rack and let sit for 24 hours or until dry. If you'd like, keep the sugar water the oranges simmered in (which is now Blood Orange Simple Syrup) to make cocktails.
- Once the oranges are dry, melt chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat. Dip the slices into the chocolate and set on a piece of parchment paper. While the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle with sea salt or chopped almonds. Transfer to the fridge to allow chocolate to dry.
- Chocolate dipped orange slices can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.