Here’s some easy to make festive holiday candy that doesn’t taste anything like candy-canes, fruitcake, gingerbread or eggnog.
The first step is to peel the lemons. If you peel off thick strips from one pole to the other, they end up being a convenient length for dipping. This is a scaleable recipe: use as many lemons as you like. You can also use oranges, but you’ll end up with chocolate covered orange peel instead of chocolate covered lemon peel.
Next, split the strips into nice narrow pieces with a paring knife.
Cover the strips of peel with water in a pot and bring to a boil. Cook for a minute or two and then drain. This blanching step helps to remove the bitterness.
Barely cover the strips of peel in fresh water again, and add sugar in equal proportion to the water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 30-40 minutes, or until the peel becomes tender and translucent.
Drain the peel* and spread the pieces out on parchment paper on a cookie sheet to dry out in the oven on low, or if you have one, you can use a dehydrator.
(*Note: if you like lemon syrup, reserve the liquid when you drain the peel. Serve on pancakes and desserts or use in cocktails.)
When to stop drying them is up to you: if you like a more firm and chewy texture, dry for longer.
Melt some chocolate in a double boiler. Using a double boiler helps to keep the chocolate from overheating and breaking the temper. Using chocolate with consistent quality will help give a good texture and finish. Ghirardelli makes a 60% bittersweet chip that is readily available. The chocolate we used this time is Trader Joe’s 72% Belgian.
Dip the strips of candied peel in the chocolate. Place them on waxed, freezer, or parchment paper and chill to harden before serving or taking to your holiday dessert exchange.