Sofia Clara - candied lemons and oranges12I shared this recipe on my blog a few seasons ago but wanted to go back and re-work it as I’ve made it a number of times and think it needed a bit of an upgrade.

B and I made these just the other day as part of our homemade Christmas gift session and they turned out to be pretty amazing. I took a few to some friends who absolutely loved them.

I know these are the sort of things that most people only really buy in shops but they are ever so easy to make and they really wow people. Taking a little bag of these over with a handmade card costs pennies but is so much more personal that a store-bought box of chocolates.

These are also a great alternative to help steer away from all the artificial colouring, preservatives, etc. in all the sweets and goodies this time of the year.

Go on, swap your Christmas truffles for a slightly healthier chocolate offer – they are just as tasty!

Sofia Clara - candied lemons and oranges11If you want to make both candied lemons and oranges (which you should as they are equally delicious), you will follow exactly the same method in two separate saucepans. I would recommend doing them in seperate saucepans as the lemons have more of a bitter pith that will slightly change the taste of the oranges.

Ingredients for the lemons: water for boiling, 4 lemons, ice cold water, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water
Ingredients for the oranges: water for boiling, 3 oranges, ice cold water, 1 1/2 cup sugar, 1 1/2 cup water
For the chocolate: 200g baking chocolate

Start by cutting your lemons and oranges into thin slices using a carving knife or a mandolin. I’d aim for about 2mm slices.

Pop out any of the pips that you come across.

Sofia Clara - candied lemons and oranges13Lemons are a bit trickier than oranges as they have so many pips – they won’t look as pretty as the oranges but they taste soooo good. Don’t worry too much about them – I kind of like the rustic, homemade look.

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Prepare two bowls of ice-cold water and set them to the side.

Fill two medium-sized saucepans with water. Bring the water to the boil. When the water has boiled, turn off the heat and place the lemon slices inside one, and the oranges in the other.

Leave to stand in the water until soft (approx. 1 minute). Carefully remove the fruit slices and place in the ice cold water. Dispose of the water in the saucepan.

Put 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water into one saucepan (for the lemons) and 1 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 cup water into the other (for the oranges) and bring both to a boil.

The sugar should completely dissolve.

Reduce to a simmer and arrange the slices in layers as shown below. Leave to simmer on a low heat for about an hour until the pith (the white part) is translucent.

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Once the hour is up, carefully remove the slices from the syrup one by one and leave to dry on baking parchment.

I left them overnight on my kitchen table.

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Overnight they will have candied up and lost some of their moisture, you can then half coat them in chocolate.

Melt the chocolate in a bain marie (in a bowl over some boiling water).

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Once the chocolate has totally melted, remove the bowl from the saucepan and set next to the fruit slices. Keep the saucepan full of water in case the chocolate cools too much.

Dip in the fruit slices half way. As silly as it sounds, there’s a certain technique that B and I spent a while figuring out so they didn’t look disastrous. The best thing to do is dunk in the slice and sort of lean it forwards so you get a perfect line on the front side – the line of chocolate on the back will be slightly lower which is perfect so when you set it down you can’t see the line of chocolate on the back through.

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Sofia Clara - candied lemons and oranges8Leave the chocolate to set.

You’ll probably have some left over chocolate in the bowl and no one like to waste chocolate. So, if you haven’t got the stomach to lick a quarter of a bowl full of chocolate, pop the bowl back on the bain marie, pour in some milk and get your whisk out to whisk up only the most mouth-wateringly good hot chocolate!

Sofia Clara - hot chocolate1Pop in some marshmallows to counter the bitterness of the cooking chocolate and there you have it!

Sofia Clara - hot chocolate3Here’s a close up just to make you drool a little more…

Sofia Clara - hot chocolate2As you drink your little cup of heaven, sit and admire the little beauties…

Sofia Clara - candied lemons and oranges10Store them in a dry place and when you need a little gift, pop some of these in a pretty bag with a gift tag and you’re sure to please!

Thanks for stopping by – I hope you’re enjoying the holiday season! xS