I don’t know when I developed my taste for ginger. I know it wasn’t until I was an adult because I avoided it as a kid. The flavor grew on me and I began to use it more and more in my cooking. I occasionally grab a bag of candied ginger for snacking – it’s such a pick-me-up candy. Then on Sunday it occurred to me that this must be ridiculously easy to make. Ridiculously. So I made it….
I use a candy thermometer to measure the syrup temperature. It takes longer than one would think to reach 225°F, so having a candy thermometer keeps you rooted in reality. Not only that, but for every 500 feet above sea level you are, you will subtract a degree from the target temperature since there is less air pressure (water boils at a lower temperature). For me, that translates into 208°F as my target because (8500 ft/500 ft) * 1°F = 17°F. Math is your friend.
You can let the ginger slices sit in the syrup for an hour or up to a day. I opted for a day. Store them in their syrup or drain them and toss in sugar. It’s up to you. I wanted mine sugar-coated.
Like I said, don’t throw that syrup away. I put mine in a jar and keep it in the refrigerator. We use it in cocktails and homemade sodas or juices. Don’t throw the sugar away either! It’s perfect for baking, custards (ice cream), stirring into tea, or anything you want to add a hint of ginger to. Let the candied ginger dry, but if you live in a place with really low humidity, don’t over dry them unless you like them crunchy.
The combination of smooth, good quality dark chocolate and candied ginger is a lovely little treat that satisfies a sweet craving while waking you up with that spicy zing from the ginger. Totally worth the trouble of tempering some chocolate.
1 lb. (500 g) ginger, peeled
4 cups (800 g) sugar
4 cups (1 l) water
Using a good, sharp knife, slice the ginger. Slice thin if you want thin, but I think I prefer mine to be thicken and chunkier (for chewy ginger). Place the ginger in a non-reactive saucepan and cover with water. Bring this to a boil then reduce to a simmer for ten minutes. Drain. Repeat this process again. Return the ginger to the saucepan with the 4 cups of sugar, 4 cups of water, and pinch of salt. Stir over high heat to help the sugar dissolve and let it cook to a temperature of 225°F/106°C (208°F at 8500 ft. above sea level or subtract 1°F from target temperature for every 500 feet above sea level). Turn off the heat and let the ginger stand in the syrup for an hour minimum. I followed David’s suggestion and let it sit overnight. If you want to coat the slices in sugar, David advises you drain the slices while they are hot so the syrup flows off the pieces better. I think you can do both – let it sit overnight, then warm it up on the stove and drain off the syrup before tossing in sugar and shaking off the excess. Lay the slices out on a cooling rack to dry – these can be stored at room temperature for up to a few months. Don’t toss the sugar out! It’s great for other recipes that could use a flavored sugar. Also, don’t toss the syrup out because you can use that in beverages. If you don’t want to coat the ginger slices, you can store the ginger in its syrup instead for up to one year. Extra step: dip the candied ginger slices in tempered dark chocolate.