Tea Foodie [by Zanitea]

a journal of tea-inspired foods and recipes

Rooibos Candied Clementines

Orange-chocolate is my second favorite dessert flavor, next to lemon. I have memories of my dad treating me to Swiss Orange Chip ice cream at Swenson’s as a kid. Anytime I see a Terry’s chocolate orange at the market, I scoop one (or two) up. Set a bag of chocolate dipped candied orange peel in front of me? Gone in about a minute.

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So I couldn’t let this citrus season go by without trying a DIY candied orange recipe—all with the intention of pairing with chocolate, of course.

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I decided to candy sweet clementine oranges. The method is a simple one, with just three ingredients—clementines, water, and sugar. Replace the water with a strong brewed tea and you’ve got the perfect tea-infused treat, and a great way to incorporate tea into your cooking.

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Simmering the clementines in rooibos tea seemed like a natural pairing. Rooibos, a South African bush plant that is steeped like tea, brews into a rich mohogany red liquor with notes of honey, caramel, and vanilla. Rooibos is an herb, not a true tea, so you can steep it for a long time and get intense flavor without the astringency or bitterness of over steeped tea leaves. I was able to simmer the clementines in a strong rooibos syrup for two hours, infusing the orange slices with gentle hints of the rooibos flavor. Bonus is that you end up with a citrus infused rooibos syrup as a byproduct of the process. Refrigerate that syrup and keep it on hand for sweetening iced tea and flavoring cocktails.

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While you can gobble up the candied clementines on their own, they also make a gorgeous garnish for cakes or cupcakes— especially chocolate ones!

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Happy cooking and sipping!

P.S. Many thanks to Rooi Life for sending me samples of South African rooibos to play around with in my tea foodie kitchen.

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Rooibos Candied Clementines

Adapted from the New York Times recipe for Candied Clementines by John Willoughby.

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups water

6 rooibos tea bags

2 cups sugar

5 clementine (or mandarin) oranges, scrubbed clean and thinly sliced (with peel on)

Preparation:

1. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan then remove from heat and add tea bags. Let steep for 10 minutes for a strong brewed tea.

2. Remove tea bags and return saucepan to the stovetop. Add sugar and bring to a boil, whisking to dissolve sugar. Once sugar is dissolved and mixture is boiling, add clementine slices. Reduce heat so mixture is just simmering. Set a piece of parchment paper on top of the clementine slices to keep them submerged in the liquid. Simmer for 2 hours. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

3. Once clementine slices have cooled in the syrup, remove them from the syrup and lay them in a single layer on parchment paper. [Note: Transfer syrup to a sealable jar and refrigerate for use later in drinks or other desserts.] You can either let the candied clementines “dry” for a bit before enjoying. But they won’t completely dry out at room temperature; they will remain pretty sticky, but they’re still perfectly edible and delicious. To dehydrate them further and make them easier to handle and store, lay them on parchment on a baking sheet. Top with another layer of parchment and a second baking sheet to press them down. Bake for 1 hour in a 250-degree oven. Let cool before using.

Uses:

  • Dip in chocolate—duh!
  • Use as a cake or cupcake garnish.
  • Makes an impressive cocktail garnish (i.e. with sparkling wine, in an old fashioned, for a margarita)
  • Save the syrup (covered and refrigerated) and use it to sweeten iced tea or cocktails. Also delicious stirred into yogurt with granola.
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About Zanitea

Combining a love of tea and food through hand blended teas and cooking with tea inspiration.

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