This takes me back many year. To a time when we enjoyed Christmas Candy and goodies that took days to prepare. It was such a sweet and special time. The excitement and antisipation was so enjoyable. We walked in the woods finally able to cut that special Christmas tree we had spotted months before. We knew where the wild Holly bushes were with bright red berries, we gathered sprigs at Christmas. Fruit cakes made and stored for weeks, waiting.. when we would Clebrated the Birth of our Lord Jesus. How I miss my childhood days when life was so uncomplicated. Families and neighbors, unhurried.
ORANGE SLICES: Wash oranges in warm water real well and dry with paper towels.
Cut each orange into 1/4 inch slice, discarding stem ends. SET ASIDE.
Fill a large pot (10 inch or so) 1/2 full with cold water. Bring to a boil, slide orange slices into boiling water and blanch for three minutes.Remove from heat and gently drain into colander. Repeat process except the second time, remove slices with a slotted spoon and dip into ice water to stop cooking process. NEVER STIR SLICES, just push down if they float to the top in ANY PROCESS. Drain well on rack and allow to cool.
In a 10 inch heavy gage pot bring 2 cups of water and 3 1/2 cups of sugar to a low boil over medium heat. Stir until all sugar has dissolved. Slide orange slices into hot sugar water. Separating slices and simmering gently for one hour, uncovered. If necessary, gently push slices down, but DO NOT stir. The sugar water will get syrupy.
Removed from heat. Lift each slice with a slotted spoon on to a rack with parchmet paper under the rack, place in single file to cool and drain for 1-2 days. (After slices have quit dripping they can be placed in the oven on wax paper to finish drying over night with oven ligh on.) Or, they can dry in an oven on lowest temperature, mine is 200 degrees F.
When slices are dry, toss in granulated sugar, place back on rack in single file. Do not stack they will stick together.
Store in single file in air tight container in cool place. You may dip in chocolate first as follows.
CHOCOLATE FOR DIPPING:
Melt all chocolate (except the reserved 2 ounces)in top of a double boiler over boiling water. When melted, add your pinches of chili powder, combine,then add the rest of chocolate (2 oz)
Dip orange slice half way into chocolate, gently shaking off excess chocolate. Place slices on wax paper in single file to cool. Work quickly with the slices. If chocolate becomes too thick place back over boiling water to thin. When dry, store single file in an air tight container in a cool area.
THESE SLICES WITH OR WITH OUT CHOCOLATE ARE NICE TO DRESS UP A CAKE OR TRAY WITH CLEAN, SHINNY MAGNOLIA LEAVES. **** YOU CAN CUT THE SLICES INTO ONE HALF OR ONE FOURTHS, BEFORE DIPPING IN CHOCOLATE. YOU CAN ALSO DO THE SAME PROCESS WITH LEMON SLICES.