Use strips of zest from fresh oranges to make homemade Candied Orange Peel Chocolate Bark. This semi-sweet chocolate bark has a fantastic citrus flavor that’s even better than candy-shop chocolates.
If you are like me and love the combination of chocolate and orange but think candied orange peel is too bitter even when paired with chocolate, you’ve got to try this recipe to make homemade candied orange peel.
It’s not bitter at all. That’s because it’s made using just the orange rind, not the bitter white pith.
All the citrus flavor is in the orange part of the rind. Orange peel is packed with essential oils and has an intense orange flavor. The white pith (the soft, spongy part attached to the orange peel) has a bland yet bitter flavor.
Most store-bought candied orange peel is made using the pith. When making homemade candied citrus peel, you can remove some of the bitterness by blanching (boiling) and rising the peel three times. But, even with all that blanching, the flavor is just too bitter for me. So, I prefer to eliminate the pith all together.
If you use just the orange peel without the pith, you can blanch it once just to soften the peel and it retains all of its amazing orange flavor.
How to blanch orange peel:
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan set over high heat.
- While the water is coming to a boil, wash and scrub your oranges.
- Use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to cut thin strips off the oranges being sure to only remove the orange peel, not the white pith.
- If desired, you can cut the strips into narrower strips or smaller pieces.
- When the water comes to a rolling boil, carefully submerge the orange peel in the water.
- Reduce the heat to medium and allow the orange peel to simmer for about 15 minutes until the orange peel is softened.
- Then, pour the water and orange peel into a strainer.
- Rinse well with cold, running water.
- Your balanced orange peel will have a bright orange flavor and color.
How to make candied orange peel:
- Combine water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Add the orange peel and reduce the heat to low.
- Allow it to boil for about 45 minutes until the sugar syrup thickens.
- If you have a candy thermometer, you want to cook the orange peel until the sugar syrup reaches 240 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If you look at the image in the bottom left of the collage above, you can see how thick the syrup should look when it’s ready.
- Then, spread the orange peel out on a wire cooling rack so any excess sugar syrup can drip off. I like to line my pan with tin foil for easy clean-up.
- If you don’t have a cooling rack, you can set the candied orange peel on a non-stick baking pan.
- Allow the orange peel to dry for about 15 minutes, then peel it off the cooling rack and toss it in sugar. The sugar will add more sweetness and will keep the orange peel from sticking to itself.
chocolate bark topped with candied orange peel
Once the candied orange peel has dried (for several hours), you can chop it into smaller pieces and sprinkle it on top of homemade chocolate bark.
I am a recipe developer for Dixie Crystals. I receive free products and compensation for creating recipes to be shared on their website. You can see all of the recipes using Dixie Crystals’ sugar, here.