I mentioned two posts ago that we had been travelling the world. Well, not quite the world, but Europe.
Last time we went to Europe was four years ago. Well and truly before we started eating sugar free! And let me tell you that four years ago, the chocolate in Europe was amazing. So much better than any but the top end chocolate we can get at home. Even the 30 cent chocolate blocks from the supermarket was better!
So this time, now that we make our own incredible chocolate, we were curious to see how the chocolate in Europe fared against it.
We decided before we went on holidays (for nine glorious weeks), that we wouldn’t focus on eating purely sugar free, as we wouldn’t have access to our own kitchen or ingredients or really have any time for much cooking anyway. Instead we decided to eat what we felt like, when we felt like eating it.
But given the newly broken sugar addiction when we went over, I didn’t really feel like too many sweets and found it quite easy to resist many of the temptations that were presented in each and every bakery window.
My vice was (not surprisingly)… chocolate.
We bought good quality chocolates from a variety of gourmet chocolatiers across Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium as well as many of our favourite brands from last time.
But to tell you the truth, I was quite disappointed. I actually liked our chocolate better than almost every chocolate we ate. Which is good for me generally speaking, but bad for me on holidays as I had no access to my delicious homemade chocolate. Sigh. At least I got a few flavour ideas to try out myself I suppose.
As a result, we found a couple of the better chocolates and simply stuck to eating those for the duration of the holiday. One of our favourite staples was a 70% dark chocolate and orange block. I mean how does chocolate and orange not go together?
But while delicious, it only reminded me of my own chocolate dipped candied orange I made for my Dutch relatives when they came to visit us here late last year (hello! I miss you already!). This recipe is refined sugar free and doesn’t leave me with any sugar headaches either. It’s like jaffa, but so so much better. Sweet–and a little chewy–candied orange contrasted with the slightly bitter dark chocolate that cracks when you bite into it. Perfection.
A local chocolatier sell a similar chocolate for almost $2 a piece here in Australia, and let me tell you this is a lot better priced than that (and sugar free… oh yeah!). It just takes a little time waiting for the orange to candy and for the pieces to dry.
So go on… make it! You know you want to.
Chocolate dipped candied orange
Created by me
4 oranges (organic as you are going to be eating the skin)
2 cups water
3 cups maple syrup or honey (I used half half, but honey attracts moisture so the candies got a little bit softer over time)
Melted chocolate, to dip
Wash and slice the oranges fairly thinly. Place the water and maple syrup/honey in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the orange slices and simmer, uncovered for about 1 hour. Don’t stir the pot, just push down the slices as they rise up too high.
Remove the orange slices from the water and place on a parchment lined tray. For best results dry the pieces in a very low oven for about an hour and leave uncovered in the fridge over night. You can also just wait for the pieces to cool and dry and dip in chocolate straight away if time is of the essence.
The pieces will still be a little sticky, but dip each piece in melted chocolate about 3/4 of the way to leave a nice colour contrast. Place chocolate dipped pieces on parchment paper and allow to harden.
Notes and suggestions: don’t tell anyone you are making these and eat them all yourself. Wrap the pieces in cellophane and tie up with a ribbon to make a beautiful (and delicious) gift – I did this for a birthday present and it went down a treat! Include in a selection of homemade chocolate. Serve as a light treat with homemade chocolates and some fresh medjool dates.