The Transylvania Times -

Everyone Will Love These Simple Yet Sophisticated Treats

 

November 7, 2019

Chocolate-Dipped Orange Creams. (Courtesy photo by Sherah Martin/ Dreamstime.com)

When my family and I have gone to holiday parties, I always like to bring along some sort of homemade sweet treat that everyone can enjoy. It's fun to see the looks of happy surprise when your fellow guests see and then taste what you've brought along. And making them in the afternoon before the party can also be an enjoyable activity the whole family can share.

A perfect example of that idea is the recipe I'd like to share with you here for Chocolate-Dipped Orange Creams, a candy I first learned to make from former Spago pastry chef Mary Bergin. It features a quickly prepared "cream" filling made of unsalted butter, corn syrup, orange flavoring and confectioners' sugar, beaten and kneaded to a dough-like consistency and then cut into little 1-inch (2.5-cm) patties. The bottom of each patty is then dipped in melted chocolate and left on a sheet of waxed paper until completely set.

The flavors of chocolate and orange - which comes in this recipe from natural orange oil or extract, found in the baking aisle of well-stocked markets - really do complement each other perfectly in these candies, and I've found that everyone appreciates the combination. They can also both join in the preparation of the treats - although, of course, younger ones should be carefully supervised, especially when it comes to using a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer for the dough, and melting the chocolate.

One important step in the recipe that should be left to grownups is the essential process known as "tempering" the chocolate. Described in detail in the recipe, it involves melting the chocolate carefully over a double boiler to specific temperature ranges, monitored with a candy thermometer. Doing this slows the streaking, or "bloom," that sometimes appears on the surfaces of chocolate-coated candies and causes them to look dull or discolored. Instead, chocolate that has been tempered will set to a glossy, shiny, beautiful surface.

Chocolate-Dipped Orange Creams

Makes 33 to 35 candies

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/3 cup (80 ml) light corn syrup

1 1/2 teaspoons orange oil or orange extract

4 cups (950 ml) confectioners' sugar, sifted, plus extra as needed

About 4 ounces (115 g) bittersweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped

Directions:

In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with beaters, or using a large mixing bowl and a handheld electric mixer, combine the butter, corn syrup and orange oil or extract, beating at medium speed until smooth and creamy. Reduce the speed to low and, 2 cups (about 500 ml) at a time, gradually add the sugar, beating just until the mixture starts to come together.

Lightly sprinkle a clean work surface with confectioners' sugar. Remove the mixture from the bowl and, on the work surface, knead it with clean hands until it forms a smooth ball, adding a little more confectioners' sugar if it's a bit sticky; but don't add too much, because the mixture should stay creamy.

With a rolling pin, roll out the filling into a circle about 8 inches (20 cm) across and 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside to rest for 30 minutes, but do not refrigerate.

Place a sheet of waxed paper on a baking tray. With a 1-inch (2.5-cm) cookie cutter, cut out 27 or 28 rounds, arranging them on the tray. Gather up the scraps and reroll them into a circle 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick and cut out 6 or 7 more rounds, placing them on the tray.

Meanwhile, temper the chocolate: Bring about 2 inches (5 cm) of water to a boil in the lower half of a double boiler or in a medium saucepan; then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Put 3 ounces (about 85 g) of the chocolate in the top half of the double boiler, or in a metal bowl big enough to rest atop the saucepan without its bottom touching the water. Do not cover the chocolate, and take care not to let the water in the bottom pan touch the pan or bowl containing the chocolate. Place a candy thermometer in the chocolate and melt the chocolate to a temperature of 115-120 F (46-48 C). Immediately remove the top pan of chocolate from the heat and add the reserved chocolate, stirring to combine and melt thoroughly and to cool the chocolate to 88-90 F (31-32 C) for semisweet chocolate or 84-88 F (28-31 C) for milk chocolate.

Immediately begin dipping the orange creams: With a fork, lift a cream from the waxed paper, carefully dip the bottom half of it into the chocolate, and then lift it out and return it to the waxed paper.

Repeat with the remaining creams. Do not remove the candies until the chocolate has set completely. Store at cool room temperature in an airtight container in single layers between sheets of waxed paper until serving.

(© 2019 Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc. Distributed by Tribune Content agency, LLC)

 
 

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