There is a time and a place for complicated.
Holidays call for complicated. They call for abundance, for richness, for excess. Like cookies. Mmmm. Rich, buttery, frosted sugar bombs. Perfect for a festive month or two, right at the end of the year when tiny lights and sugar bombs are all we have to defy the dark.
But there are other times and other places - cleaner, quieter times - that call for something a bit more...simple.
Bittersweet Oranges. I made them up (although I'm sure someone, somewhere, at least once in their lives, has thought of this before, but whateveri'mtakingcredit).
Let's appreciate chocolate for what it is.
You know, the cocoa bean. Small, hard, bitter. Its original state, before the milk and sugar and, you know, that other stuff? Soy lecithin? Is that what it's called?
Just cocoa. Cacao. What does that taste like?
I don't mean to get all snobby here (I'm going to get completely snobby here), I like my milk chocolate squares too. There's a time and a place.
But sometimes I just want...CHOCOLATE. Like, cocoa. Like, cacao. Like, xocolotl. The raw, naked, bitter stuff.
You have to use good chocolate to make these, okay?
Not HERSHEY'S. Not that stuff labeled BAKERS in the baking aisle (you've been warned about snobbery here today).
It doesn't have to be this brand. But let it be something good. And if you're really hardcore, like I like to imagine myself to be, make it 100% cacao.
100% is better.
Have you ever tasted chocolate? I mean, really tasted it?
It's like, fruity. I mean, bitter too. But there are flowers in there.
Pair it with orange for the perfect kiss of sweetness.
The holidays are over. The winter's ahead. This is the time and the place for simple.
2 - 4 oz 100% cacao chocolate
almonds, raisins (optional)
Slice your orange thinly, first into rounds and then into fourths or sixths. Melt your chocolate in a double boiler, or just a glass bowl placed over a pot of boiling water. Dip orange pieces into chocolate, halfway (or completely, if you like). Let cool on wax paper or parchment paper. Take pleasure in eating.
Optional use for extra melted chocolate: make mendiants! The world's easiest homemade candy. Pour quarter or half dollar size circles of melted chocolate onto wax or parchment paper. Lightly top with raisins, slivered almonds, and anything else that would taste nice with it. Let harden. Take pleasure in eating.