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Posted: 12:00 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012
An easy trick to peel ginger is to use the edge of a spoon. Just place your thumb on the back of the bowl of the spoon, scraping the outer layer of the ginger away from you. Ginger, as a root, is fairly tough, so with this method, you boil the slices twice before candying to tenderize.
1 lb. fresh ginger, peeled
4 cups sugar, plus about 1/2 cup for coating
Slice ginger thinly and place in a pot with enough water to cover. Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer ginger for 10 minutes. Use a strainer to remove ginger and discard the water. Refill the pot with fresh water and repeat this step.
After the ginger has been boiled twice and drained, add sugar, 4 cups water and pinch of salt to the pot with the ginger slices and cook for about an hour over medium heat, or until the liquid is the consistency of thin honey. If you have a candy thermometer, cook until the temperature reaches 225 degrees.
Remove from heat and strain the ginger, reserving the ginger simple syrup for another use, such as ginger ale.
Toss the drained slices in a shallow bowl filled with about half a cup granulated sugar. Shake off the excess sugar and spread ginger pieces out in a single layer on a cooling rack. (I used a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper) Leave out to dry overnight. You can store the candied ginger at room temperature for a few months.
Note: Store the ginger simple syrup in the fridge for up to three months. You can sweeten tea or other drinks with the syrup. To make homemade ginger ale, add four tablespoons of ginger syrup to a large pint glass and top with seltzer or other sparkling water.
— Adapted from a technique on DavidLebovitz.com
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 cup sugar, plus 2 Tbsp. for garnish
1 Tbsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 heaping tsp. ground cloves
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups flour, plus more if needed
1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter, 1 cup sugar, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and cloves in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until well-blended and fluffy. Beat in the egg and molasses until evenly incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
Slowly beat or stir in by hand with a wooden spoon 2 cups of flour until evenly incorporated. Stir in candied ginger. If the dough is overly soft, add up to 1 and 1/2 Tbsp. additional flour.
Using a cookie scoop or rounded 1-tablespoon measuring spoon, drop dough onto ungreased cookie sheets or a cookie sheet lined with parchment, spacing two inches apart.
Grease your fingers with a little butter and dip them in the remaining sugar. Press sugary finger tips gently into the top of each cookie dough ball, redipping into the sugar after each cookie.
Bake on the middle rack one sheet at a time for 9 to 12 minutes, or until cookies are slightly darker at the edges. Cool on baking sheet for 1 to 2 minutes or until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack with a wide spatula. Makes 3 dozen cookies.
— Adapted from “Simply Sensational Cookies” by Nancy Baggett
Candied Ginger Pound Cake Balls
1 cup butter plus 1/2 cup for frosting, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
16 oz. powdered sugar
3 to 4 Tbsp. milk
1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
For cake balls:
2/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger, plus 2 Tbsp. for garnish
4 (4-oz.) 60 percent cacao bittersweet chocolate baking bars, chopped
2 (4-oz.) semisweet chocolate baking bars, chopped
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.
Beat butter at medium speed with a mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, then beat on medium speed 3 to 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until yellow disappears. In a small bowl, combine milk and extracts, then add flour to butter mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack; cool completely (about 1 hour).
While the cake is baking, make the vanilla buttercream frosting. Beat 1/2 cup butter and salt at medium speed with an electric mixer 1 to 2 minutes or until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with 3 Tbsp. milk, beating at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition. Stir in vanilla. If frosting is too thick, beat in remaining 1 Tbsp. milk, 1 tsp. at a time.
To make the cake balls, crumble the room temperature cake in a large bowl and mix in 1 cup frosting and 2/3 cup crystallized ginger until it holds its shape in a ball. (You can add more frosting if it doesn’t hold together.)
Shape into 1-inch rounds, and place on wax paper. Melt bittersweet chocolate and semisweet chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water. (If you don’t have a double boiler, you can either melt the chocolates in the microwave or by placing a glass bowl on top of a pot of simmering water.) Using a spoon, dip cake balls one at a time in melted chocolate to coat and then place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle immediately with finely chopped crystallized ginger. The chocolate will set as the cake balls sit out. Once the chocolate has hardened, you can wrap them for gifting. Makes 6 dozen truffles.
— Adapted from Southern Living, December 2012
Ginger vodka fizz
1.5 oz. vodka
1 oz. pear juice
.75 oz. lemon juice
.5 oz. ginger syrup
Sprig rosemary, for garnish
Combine all liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until chilled. Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice. Top off with club soda to taste. Garnish with rosemary.
— Emma Janzen