So this recipe started out as a botched recipe for candied/crystallized ginger. I was going off this recipe here, by Alton Brown (this guy is awesome) and didn’t read before I ran to the kitchen. Where I was supposed to cook the ginger first, I went and coated it with sugar and then slapped my forehead when I saw that was a no-no.
So, not wanting to wash it off and waste the sugar, I rolled with it.
Recipe 24: Candied Ginger & Ginger Simple Syrup
This recipe is a 1:1 sugar-to-peeled ginger ratio by weight. Great if you have a food scale.
- 0.5lb ginger (after peeling)
- 0.5lb sugar (about 1/2 cup) plus extra (1/4 cup about) to induce crystallization…
- about 2.5 cups water (I just added enough to cover the ginger in the sauce pan by about an inch)
The first thing you want to do is get your peeler out and peel the ginger. It’s lame and tough to do, but I promise it makes a difference. A tip here is to run the vegetable peeler back and forth as your peeling because that motion will dislodge any peel that is clogging up the blade.
Once you’ve done this, use a knife or mandolin (easier) to slice into 1/8 inch slices. I like the small, disc-shaped pieces but I tried a bunch of angles to see what worked out best.
Add your sliced ginger and sugar to a large bowl and toss it to coat all the slices. Then lob that into a medium saucepan and cover with about an inch of water. (I used filtered, but tap is just fine.)
Cook on high for 25 minutes, uncovered. You’re going to reduce this down. Stir occasionally. At the 25 min mark, you’re going to take your syrup.
Get a heat-safe glass jar (like a recycled artichoke heart jar) and if you have one, set a tea ball or tea stick on the edge to act as a micro-strainer. Use a ladle or dry-measure cup to scoop out some of the syrup in the pot of boiling ginger and run it through the strainer atop the jar. Allow it to cook before you taste it. :P Bring that syrup to room temperature and then you can store it in the fridge if it lasts that long.
Continue to boil down the ginger. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar to induce the crystallization and stir.
There are a number of methods to do this, but enough agitation (stirring), a seed crystal (such as a grain of sugar in this recipe), and a reduction in the solution (boiling off the water) are all things that are helping us make this ginger nice and “crusty”.
While this mixture continues to boil, get a wire rack, a cookie sheet, and parchment paper. Put the paper on the sheet, then set the rack on top. Take a bit of vegetable oil and rub it between your hands. Oil the rack by running your hands over it. You don’t need much, just a thin layer.
Once you’ve reduced the liquid down to near nothing (be careful not to burn it, make sure you stir a lot), turn off the heat and spoon out your ginger onto the rack. Spread it out with a spatula as best you can, and let cool. It should begin to crystallize as it cools.