Chocolate Orange Bundles recipe
I’m often amazed by the talented pros I work with. Take the recipe feature in our latest issue. “Cocoa Power” features chocolate recipes by Ruth Gangbar. The assignment I gave Ruth was to develop recipes that celebrate the fun in chocolate—frankly, I’m tired of chocolate as dark, decadent, and slightly sinister. Sure it’s an indulgence that’s hard to resist, but when did chocolate get so serious? As she always does, Ruth came through with terrific recipes, many very simple (frozen bananas dipped in chocolate), a few showstoppers worth the extra effort (a Red Velvet Chocolate Cake with her own twist).
Ruth is never fazed by any curves we throw her, so when a last-minute page-count change meant we had room in the magazine for a few extra recipes, I knew she’d be able to develop an idea quickly. I called her on the Thursday before Thanksgiving to see what she could pull together. Without missing a beat, she gave me several ideas, including one she’d been thinking about for a few years, ever since she made a chocolate baklava for a photo shoot. “It was delicious,” she told me, “and I have an idea to change it so it’s easier and even better.” I didn’t really want to ask her to work over Thanksgiving, but she laughed, “Now I know what I’m making for the Thanksgiving potluck I’m going to.” Her last-minute recipe is, in my opinion, one of the best in the mix—crisp little hobo purses of chocolate, nuts, and orange. I cheated, as I often do, and used chocolate chips, so I didn’t even have to chop the chocolate.
Chocolate Orange Bundles
By Ruth Gangbar
From Cocoa Power
After tasting these tidy little bundles, Santa may never want milk and cookies again. They’re best served warm, but you can assemble them, freeze them in an airtight container, and bake later, adding 5 minutes to the cooking time. Look for phyllo pastry in the freezer section of your grocery store; leave it overnight in the fridge (or microwave on high for 15 seconds) to defrost.
1/2 cup unsalted butter (125 ml)
2 large oranges
1 cup toasted walnuts or pistachios (or a combination), finely chopped (250 ml)
8 oz milk or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (250 g)
1/4 cup honey (60 ml)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (2 ml)
10 sheets phyllo pastry
Orange Caramel Sauce (optional, recipe follows)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Melt butter in a small saucepan and set aside. Grate zest of oranges into a medium bowl. (Reserve oranges to juice for Orange Caramel Sauce.) Combine nuts, chocolate, honey, and cinnamon with orange zest.
2. Place 2 sheets of phyllo side by side on a clean kitchen surface. Brush each with enough melted butter to coat. Layer another sheet of phyllo evenly on top of each, coating again with butter. Repeat with the remaining phyllo and butter to create two stacks, each with five layers of phyllo.
3. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut each phyllo stack into 12 squares (for 24 squares in total). Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of filling into centre of each square. Divide filling evenly between all 24 squares.
4. For each square, form neat bundles by gathering corners and edges up and over filling. Twist gently to seal. Place bundles on large, parchment-lined cookie sheets. (If you freeze assembled bundles to bake later, brush any exposed edges with additional melted butter.)
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Serve drizzled with Orange Caramel Sauce, if desired.
Makes 24 bundles.
Orange Caramel Sauce
1/2 cup sugar (125 ml)
2/3 cup orange juice (150 ml)
2 tbsp butter (30 ml)
1. Heat sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until a golden syrup forms, swirling pan as necessary to dissolve all the sugar, and being careful not to let it burn.
2. Carefully add orange juice, which will sputter. Blend evenly with a wooden spoon and continue cooking for about 8-10 minutes, or until reduced slightly. Stir in butter.
Makes about 2/3 cup (150 ml).
Published in the Winter 2010 issue of Cottage Life.