{edible gift} Chocolate Dipped Candied Orange Peels

My sister-in-law is a new vegan.

I had a moment of disquiet about this over Thanksgiving, saying to her, “But what are we going to do about mashed potatoes?” We sub-divided them, of course, which was perfectly sensible. But my next question was even more important: what about dessert?!?!?! Thanksgiving without pie? Really? She made a vegan avocado and graham-cracker-crust pie, which we politely nibbled before going back to giant slabs of butter-drenched apple pie and whipped-cream-slathered pumpkin pie. But then she brought out an after-the-feast vegan tea-time treat that blew me right out of the water: Chocolate dipped candied orange peels. They were fragrant and chocolatey, delicately chewy and generally amazing. They make a very good, if labor intensive, cookie substitute for the gluten- and butter-challenged. For the best results use thinner skinned oranges, like Florida juice oranges, rather than thick skinned navel oranges. In fact, Debbie made them from my father-in-law’s after-juice refuse, very cool. Kind of like composting, but much tastier.

RECIPE: Chocolate Dipped Candied Orange Peels

3 to 4 oranges, cut in quarters
½ cup sugar
4 ounces dark chocolate chips


1. Cut the orange away from the peel and use it for something else. Trim the white part off of the peel with a very sharp paring knife.

2. Cut each quarter-orange peel into four strips, so that for one piece of fruit, you end up with 16 strips of orange peel.

3. Lay each strip flat on a cutting board and use your paring knife to scrape off as much of the remaining white pith as you can without ripping the strip apart. This is a good time to practice patient mindfulness. Not my strong point.

4. Once the strips of orange peel are thoroughly scraped, put them in a small sauce pan and cover them with water. Bring them to a boil for five minutes. Drain the peels in a strainer. Do it two more times. Boiling them in clean water three times makes the peels softer and gets rid of any bitterness.

5. Place ½ cup water and ½ cup sugar in the saucepan and stir to dissolve. Add the drained, thrice-boiled peels and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the water evaporates but the sugar does not yet caramelize. Remove from heat.

6.Lay the sugar-coated hot peels out flat on a piece of parchment paper or non-stick aluminum foil. Place them so they don’t touch each other. I found chop sticks to be the right tool to use to place them on the parchment paper. Allow them to cool completely.

7. In a small bowl, melt around 4 ounces of chocolate chips in the microwave. I did this by zapping them on high power for 30 seconds, stirring and repeating twice until they were completely melted.

8. Dip each piece of candied peel in the melted chocolate so that it is covered except for the end you hold for dipping. Lay them back out on the parchment and allow them to cool and harden. Store in an air tight container for up to two weeks- enjoy!



26 Comments Add yours

  1. Cool idea, I’m sure it must taste nice.

    1. Dianna says:

      It is really fragrant and delicious. I was totally surprised by how good it was.

  2. Lil Rinaldi says:

    Thank-you for the great idea! I run my oranges thru a juicer so this is a way for me to use the peels! Also, love the combo of chocolate and orange.

    1. Dianna says:

      You’re welcome. It is really good way to put your orange peels to good use.

  3. I love those. Funny,, I never really considered the vegan mashed potato issue – that’s a toughie… butter would really be a challenge for me to do without

    1. Dianna says:

      butter in general is not hard for me EXCEPT in mashed potatoes. I love mashed potatoes and am a total purist about them.

  4. corrina says:

    these sound amazing! but, i gotta speak up for vegans, fruit pies especially are incredibly easy to veganize. apple pie was one of my first successful vegan baking experiments.

    1. Dianna says:

      Everyone tells me pies are easy to veganize, but I need to find some non-transfat butter substitutes. My husband refuses to eat margarine, because of the trans fats. This is a 30 year old ban on his part, not to be budged. Any ideas?

      1. corrina says:

        earth balance is a non-hydrogenated, trans-fat free vegan margarine. it’s generally my go-to butter sub. they do have a soy free option available as well. is it more processed than butter? yes, but just like with real butter it is meant to be consumed in moderation. organic coconut oil is also trans-fat free and works well in place of butter in sweet baked goods.

        1. Dianna says:

          Thank you!
          I will check it out. I knew about the coconut oil. I am going to my food coop tomorrow and will pick both up. Then maybe I will do a posting on pie crusts!

  5. I’m really picky about pie crust – if it’s more like cardboard than tender and flaky, I’d rather have a crumble or meringue. I tried going vegan and just couldn’t… I got to the point where I couldn’t choke down another soy anything. Going vegan causes my food to seem more processed than ever to compensate and that seems to cancel out the good in my mind.

    1. Dianna says:

      I don’t like soy based products all that much either, with the exception of tofu, soy sauce and miso, of course. In general, I’d rather eat a little butter or milk than manufactured goods, but I have had lots of good vegan food. It is just usually based on Asian cuisine instead of American or European food with meat-like, milk-like, egg-like products. So, I am with you on pie crust!

    2. corrina says:

      I think it is easy to fall into a soy-slump while vegan, but it doesn’t have to be that way! There are plenty of vegans who eat mostly whole foods diets. I think the problem is when people try to eat primarily facsimiles of what they liked as an omni instead of trying new recipes centered around veg, legumes, and whole grains. Also, veganism has come a long way in the past 5 years alone, and there are many more options (cookbooks, groceries, soy-free, etc) available.

      1. Dianna says:

        Right, if you are going to be vegan, just give up on hot dogs, not worth it.

        Thanks for your advice. I just ordered two vegan cookbooks because I was inspired! And for anyone who goes to NYC, you HAVE to go to my favorite vegan restaurant, Gobo.

  6. Actually I love miso and soy sauce and some tofu now that I am not so reliant on it. I didn’t know that about coconut oil as a butter substitute – that sounds promising in its own right, not just as a stand in for something better suited to the job…

    Looking forward to your post : )

    1. Dianna says:

      I am terrible in general at pies, but can make a decent pie crust as long as it is free form. See my old post on Pie-like objects!


  7. mzkynd says:

    Ooh I feel like I won the lottery. Hubby has a bag of oranges in his truck and I know my MIL has some chocolate. Guess what I am making? 😉

    1. Dianna says:

      🙂 I hope you like them. I am now doing candied orange slices, which I also recommend. Just slice them thinly. They are equally good and less work. Apricots are good too!

  8. Christine says:

    Wow. I am absolutely, positively making these this weekend.

  9. Stephanie says:

    Try them with the white pilth still attached! Lots of people scrape it off because they are worried that the peel will be bitter, but if you get the thick, spongy peel from a navel and boil it three times it boils off the bitterness. The white part cooks into a softer almost gummy-candy texture that is a nice contrast to the chewier firm peel. Plus it’s less work 😉

    1. Dianna says:

      that sounds great, I will try that when I make them again. I am all about less work, thanks!

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