July 30, 2022

That Time I Made Candied Ginger...

When Husband and I went on our first cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), he fell in love with one of their cocktails: The Matador. He loves it so much that we now have to get the drink package for every NCL cruise we go on. (Skip to end of the post for my Making a Matador video.)

When covid happened and our Alaska cruise on NCL was cancelled, I decided that I needed to make him one (or three) at home. This required possession of candied ginger. I realized after-the-fact that it can probably be purchased in a store. 

Instead, I bought fresh ginger and looked up a recipe. I found one by Alton Brown (from Food Network) who's recipes and techniques are spot-on. You can use his recipe for your ginger, or if you want my Amateur-Tips (like "pro-tips," but more like "hacks"), essentially the same recipe is below with said tips.

Let me know if you try the recipe and how you liked it in the comments!

Candied Ginger:

Granulated sugar

Parchment Paper or cooling rack
Non-stick cooking spray
Kitchen scale


1) Prepare your cooling station. 
If you have the kind of cooling rack with the little squares, that works best. If not, go ith parchment paper. Whichever one you use, put it on a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray.

2) Peel your ginger. 
Cut off any "nubbies" and use a small spoon to remove the skin from your ginger. Yes, a spoon. I used a paring knife the first time I peeled ginger and ended up with stitches. A knife just isn't necessary. Trust me.

3) Cut your ginger.
Alton recommended use of a mandolin. If you have one, go for it. But if you're like me, you'll have to use a knife. Just cut it as thin as you can without driving yourself crazy. Aim for ~1/8" thick. I recommend first cutting the ginger in half length-wise so that it sits on your cutting board better. 

4) Weigh your ginger.
Alton's recipe calls for 1lb of ginger. That's a LOT. So instead, I buy and prepare the amount I want and then determine how much it is by weighing* it at this point (and writing it down because I'll probably forget). 

5) Boil your ginger.
Pick a saucepan based on how much ginger you're making. If you're making a whole pound, you probably want a 4-quart saucepan. For less, adjust down accordingly. Put you ginger in the pan and fill about 2/3 of the way with water. Set over medium-high heat. Cover and cook for 35 minutes or until the ginger is tender.

6) Strain your ginger.
First scoop out 1/4 c of the water you boiled your ginger in and set it aside (or pour into a bigger vessel to avoid spilling. Then pour the rest into a strainer. 

7) Just add sugar.
Return the ginger to the pot and place on your kitchen scale*. Tare the scale and add the same weight of sugar that you recorded earlier. 

8) Candy the ginger!
Return the pan to the stove and add some of the reserved ginger-water to the pan. Use the whole 1/4 cup if you did a whole pound. Scale down appropriately for less ginger (hint: a pound is 16oz and 2 TBSP = 1/8 cup). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar syrup looks dry, has almost evaporated and begins to recrystallize. This can take up to 20 minutes depending on how much you're making. 

9) Cool your candied ginger.
Transfer the ginger immediately to the cooling rack or parchment and spread to separate the individual pieces. It will look slimy until cool. Once completely cool, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. 

9) Enjoy!
Candied ginger can be enjoyed as a snack/treat or used in the aforementioned Matador cocktail!

Pro-tip (From Alton)
If you used a cooling rack, save the sugar that drops beneath the cooling rack! You can use it to top ginger snaps, sprinkle over ice cream, in coffee, etc.

 *If you don't have a kitchen scale, use measuring cups to estimate the volume of the ginger. It doesn't have to match the sugar volume precisely, so this method will suffice.

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