Hope everyone's holiday preparations are going well. I have a candy problem I've not been able to solve. Two years in a row I've made candied orange peel for the cookie box -- a somewhat laborious process involving orange peel removal, scraping, slicing, thrice blanching, a 45 minute simmer in sugar syrup, and a roll in granulated sugar. I *think* it's worth the hassle. The result is a tantalizing combination of bitter, tangy, sweet, crunchy, and chewy, with a bright burst of orange essence. Add the mellowness of semi-sweet Valrhona chocolate and these have the power to make many adults weak at the knees. (Children seem to find this confection utterly gag-worthy and will generally spit them back out.)
So I'm happy with the flavor of the chocolate-dipped orange slices, but they look too ugly to give as gifts. The devilishly temperamental chocolate has bloomed again this year, despite my careful adherence to tempering instructions from a variety of sources (Food Network, Joy of Cooking, etc.). The instructions said to warm chocolate over a double boiler, pull it as soon as it starts to melt, stir in some additional chocolate, and reheat over a double boiler until the temperature reaches 90 degrees. I think mine may have quickly shot up to 95 degrees this year, but last year it didn't.
As you can see from the picture, there are unsightly specs and a dull finish on the surface of the chocolate. Does anyone know some secrets about chocolate that I may have missed? Do you think the orange oil or sugar is altering the chocolate in the bowl after I dip a few pieces?
Thanks for any advice you can offer. Happy holidays.
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