As a quick disclaimer: yes, I realize none of my readers will actually make this. I know that my tolerance for cooking projects that dirty every dish in my kitchen is far greater than yours. And frankly, as someone who had previously never attempted to temper chocolate before, this recipe actually tested the boundaries of my own cooking abilities. Thus, I'm not actually including the recipe here, just a sort of description of the process. If you are feeling adventurous and have about 10 hours to kill (really though most of that is inactive prep time!!), then let me know and I'll shoot you the final recipe.
The concept for this particular recipe came from a delicious olive oil and blood orange cake/sweet bread I made a few years ago. It cemented in me that olive oil and blood orange go well together in sweet things. It also seemed like a good flavor combination to pair with a fairly dark chocolate. In terms of turning it into a bar, my immediate thought was an ice cream bar, as anyone who has ever had olive oil ice cream will understand. Behold! The chocolate-covered olive oil with blood orange caramel ice cream bar was born! Well not entirely. I actually tried swirls of blood orange marmalade and blood orange syrup before settling on the caramel, but you can read about that thrilling thought process below.
Step one was to zest and juice a bunch of blood oranges. Actually that's more like step two as the real step one was to take artsy photographs of blood oranges:
|Tart fruits make art beaut's|
While that business was cooling, I worked on my blood orange component. I had purchased some blood orange marmalade which tasted great and led to a nice subtle flavor in the finished bars. I opted not to go that route though because while blood oranges can be readily found these days, blood orange marmalade seemed like a speciality ingredient that would be hard for many to find and I didn't want to even attempt to make it on my own. The next option was blood orange syrup (seen below). This resulted in the most beautiful color of the three options; however some taste testers (read: Sam) found the result to be a little too tart, so this option also was ultimately rejected in favor of the winner: blood orange caramel sauce. Essentially, this was the same preparation as for the syrup except with twice the sugar content and allowing the sugar to caramelize first.
|It's gorgeous! Just sadly a wee bit too tart|
|The blood orange marmalade option.|
|The blood orange syrup ones are on top. Aren't they like a beautiful sunset?|
For those who have not tempered chocolate before, it's really not hard so much as it is time consuming. It requires melting chocolate over simmering water until it is precisely 115 degrees on a candy thermometer, then adding in more unmelted, tempered chocolate until the temperature is brought down to the low 80s. Then you have to bring the whole mess back up to 87-90 degrees and maintain that. Also, if you get even a single drop of water in the chocolate you may as well just throw the chocolate in the garbage (note: I would never advocate actually throwing chocolate away) because you've totally ruined it. The whole process took about 20 minutes.
|I'm a tempering machine|
|The dipping. I promise some of them achieved full coverage.|