I love it in all its many and various forms... but my favorite is most definitely candied ginger. Especially when it is dipped in chocolate. Even more when that accompanies a glass of wonderful red wine and a good disc of jazz. Something about that will always remind me of New Orleans and Snug Harbor.
I am really not a fan of Godiva chocolates, but they do produce a candied ginger dipped in dark chocolate that is to die for. Sadly, I have only found it in New York and New Orleans. As I said in my last post, when I asked for it here, they had no idea that the company even produced it. What else am I to do, but take matters into my own hands?
I ordered a pound of candied ginger a couple of weeks ago from Frontier (through Amazon, you can buy EVERYTHING there now days), thinking I could just dip that in chocolate. I was horribly disappointed. It was candied alright, and all stuck together, every shape and sort, and rather than having that gentle, peppery burn that good candied ginger has, it was harsh. VERY harsh. I'm sure it will serve its purpose when it is chopped and added to baking, but as a ginger to munch on, it is awful.
So, the other day when I was in the grocery I happened across some fresh ginger that actually looked fresh. It was lovely and firm and just begging to come home with me to be candied. What else could I do but bring it home?
I thought I'd start small, and if it worked out well, I'd do a larger batch. First, peeled and sliced a batch, and then boiled it until it was "fork tender", like when you boil potatoes to mash, the fork tines went in easily and came out easily. That water was then drained and put aside, and cool water added to cover the ginger.
Once the water began to come to a boil, I added a cup of sugar and turned the heat down so that it simmered. For a very long time. I allowed it to simmer until the ginger began looking translucent, and the sugar and water had cooked down to a thick syrup.
This is the point where you should be able to sugar it, but I have always found that the thickness of the syrup at this stage made the sugar glob more than coat, so I added some water to thin it before I removed the ginger from the syrup. Coating it in the sugar worked SOOOOOO much better!
At this point I can attest that the ginger tastes WONDERFUL. It has retained a bit of the crispness from being fresh, and it has that lovely, gentle, peppery flavor that is exactly what I want, not at all harsh. Perfect for snacking on.
BUT... dip it in a bit of chocolate, and as far as I am concerned it becomes the favor of the gods... or at least this particular goddess. This is perfect... just the right amount of spice and chocolate, perfectly crisp yet candied... no wonder it is my favorite.
And, when you make this yourself, if you keep the water you boil it in first, and add it to the water that is sugared after you remove the ginger to dust with sugar, cook it down a bit more, you have the PERFECT ginger simple syrup. Add it to a bit of bubbly water, add a splash of lime juice and lots of ice, and you have a perfectly refreshing summer drink for everyone. Add your favorite gin or vodka and you have the perfectly refreshing adult summer drink.
If you try it, let me know how it works out for you.