I really wanted to try something new, so I picked two recipes out of my book and presented them to my wife for a decision: Coconut Vanilla Jam or Orange and Chocolate Jelly. Somewhat unsurprisingly, she opted for the one with chocolate in it. WHO’D ‘A THUNK IT?
I had a pile of oranges which hadn’t yet been eaten or cooked into some other concoction. I took the rest of my Navel oranges and a few Cara Caras and made the jelly my wife requested.
Orange and Chocolate Jelly
- 1 3/4 lbs Granny Smith Apples
- Oranges 
- 6 oz Extra Bittersweet Chocolate 
- Sugar, divided
- Pectin Powder 
- Lemon Juice 
Day 1: Rinse, stem and quarter the apples. Do not seed them. Put the quarters into a pot with a heavy 3 cups of water . Boil for 30 minutes. Strain the juice out and refrigerate.
Day 2: Juice the oranges. Get a heavy 2 cups of juice. Mix the orange juice, an equal amount of the apple juice from the day before, zest from two oranges, juice from 1 lemon and the sugar. Finely chop the chocolate and mix that in. Bring to a boil, stirring until the chocolate is melted. Let cool, preferably refrigerating overnight.
Day 3: Mix the pectin power with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar to avoid clumps. Add this sugar-pectin mixture to the juice mixture from the previous day. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring. Boil hard for 5 minutes, until set point is reached. Put into warm sterilized jars and process .
The resulting jelly is very rich and the bitterness of the chocolate almost overpowers the flavor of the orange. Almost. It’s still a good mixture but in the future I may tone down the amount of chocolate used. The chocolate did not incorporate into the rest of the mixture as well as I was hoping. Some bits of it absolutely refused to mix in at all and floated on top as solids. I skimmed most of that off, which further reduced the amount of chocolate in the final product (and it was still very rich!).
Here’s a picture of the chocolate orange jelly and the blood orange jelly, on toast. If they had been smashed into my face any harder, I’d have needed to call my dentist.
This recipe, with some tweaking, is definitely a winner.
- I used a mixture of 4 Navels and 2 Cara Caras. The original recipe called for, after the squeezing was over, 1 pound, 2 ounces of juice. Converted to liquid measure, that’s about 2 1/4 cups. When I squeeze the juice, I keep a lot of the pulp.
- The original recipe calls for “Extra Bittersweet” chocolate, 68% cacao or better. I only found a 60% and a bar of 100%, so I mixed them. However, a large portion of the chocolate did not incorporate well and I don’t know if the 100% chocolate melts differently from the other variety. Also, the original recipe calls for 9 oz, but the damn bars are…you guessed it, 4oz each. I probably only used about 6 oz total, and the resulting jelly was so rich that 4 oz might have been okay.
- Her recipe called for something like 4 cups of sugar or more. F that. I used about three cups of sugar the second day and another quarter cup of sugar on the last day to help mix the pectin in.
- As usual, her original recipe didn’t contain powdered pectin. Just the juice from the boiled Granny Smiths. I wanted a thicker result so I mixed in half a bag of pectin powder.
- With the chocolate, which I’ve never used in jam or jelly before, I wanted to be safe and include a little bit extra lemon juice. However, I forgot to add it, and now the jars are sealed. I’m stupid. The oranges might be acidic enough to keep the botulism at bay, but I’m not taking any chances. We’re just going to have to eat all this damned jelly extra quick (I can just imagine how much we’re going to suffer). If you’re following along at home and you don’t want to die because you’re as stupid as I am, add the juice of one or two lemons.
- 3 cups, 1 oz. Eyeball it.
- 2 cups, 1 oz.
- I processed for 15 minutes.