Sunday, May 23, 2010
Unbelievable as it seems the end of another school year is less than two weeks away. This is about the time I get to thinking about what to get my childrens' teachers as a gift to express our thanks for all they have done throughout the year.
My children have been very fortunate with teachers. They have always had teachers who care for them as individuals, appreciating their strengths and character. These wonderful people have always supported my children to grow and be the best they can be.
A thank you gift doesn’t need to be something expensive but rather something more personal that expresses how much they are appreciated. There is no better way to say thanks than to give food, something delicious and homemade. My suggestion is an elegant homemade gift of orangettes.
Orangette (Chocolate covered orange peel)
I have made Orangettes many times, but this time I tried something different, soaking the orange peel in water with a teaspoon of salt overnight. The result was that the orange peels in the end had a much more subtle taste, less bitterness, and a softer more gelatin like texture which I really liked. Jill (Halal Mama’s editor at large and good friend) on the other hand said she preferred how I had made them in my original version where the orange peels hold more bitterness and texture.
Peel of about 4 oranges
1 tsp of salt (optional – see my comments above)
2 cups of sugar
About 2 cups of good semi-sweet or bitter sweet chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli)
Remove the peels of the oranges by first slicing the ends off of the oranges and then scoring the peel from one end to the other. Then slice the peels into thin strips and trim the edges.
Optional: Leave the peels soaking in large bowl covered in water with one teaspoon of salt. The next day, drain peels and rinse them with water before proceeding to the next step.
Boil water in a saucepan, blanch peels for a few minutes. Drain. Fill the pot again with clean water and boil. Once more add peel, leave for a few minutes then drain.
Fill saucepan with 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar, mix and let it come to a simmer. Add orange peel and let it simmer for about 40 minutes to one hour watching closely and mixing as needed not to let it burn. (You could probably use 1 ½ cups of water and sugar but I prefer to have a bit more liquid and I use any leftover syrup for something else such as toping a cake).
Remove peels from the pot and leave to cool. Drain on a rack on top of a baking sheet.
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Dip the candied orange peels in the chocolate, remove them quickly, and let them dry over parchment paper overnight.
This recipe will yield a very generous portion for at least 2 teachers. Visiting your local stores you will probably find many different packaging ideas, some that I like are colorful Chinese take-out containers, nice bowls wrapped with cellophane, plain white boxes which the kids can decorate with drawings or messages, and of course colorful tins that can be reused for different purposes.