I was lucky enough to be given an ice cream maker for Xmas (and by lucky I mean after 5 years of serious hint dropping followed by 3 years of suggesting in no uncertain terms it might be a good idea if I actually got one) and have been completely amazed by the results from it. It's not a fancy machine by any standard, costing less than £40 for my particular model, but the ice cream is worth a million dollars. I don't think I'll ever buy ready made ice cream again, sorry Ben & Jerry, I'm sure you will survive!
So this weekend I am making some plain old vanilla ice cream and I want something a little more adventurous than half a flake stuck in the top of it or a smashed up crunchie sprinkled over the top of it. As ginger is fighting it out to be top dog in my love of spices I thought I'd have a go at candied / crystallised ginger pieces. I was quietly impressed with the results and thought I would share the very easy process with you here. Enjoy!
500g granulated sugar
1 ltr water
40g dark chocolate or Nom Noms salted caramel is delicious
Peel the ginger and use a mandolin to cut it into 2- 3mm discs. If you don't have a mandolin some food processors will have a similar function using a disc, failing that you'll have to go old school and show off your knife skills, carefully!
Tip - If you can cut the ginger with the grain it will make the end result far less chewy.
Place the ginger into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil then lower the heat and cook for 35 - 40 minutes or until the ginger is tender. Drain the ginger through a colander reserving 60ml of the cooking water.
Weigh the ginger pieces and measure out the equivalent weight in sugar. Put the ginger, sugar and reserved cooking water back into the pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling lower the heat to medium and stir frequently until the sugar syrup dries up and the sugar begins to re-crystallise (about 25 minutes).
Remove to a wire rack and desperate out the ginger pieces. I place grease proof paper underneath the rack to catch the excess sugar which is delicious and great for use on cocktail glasses, in cookies or tea / coffee, well worth saving!
Place the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and allow to melt. Once the ginger is cool enough to handle dip the end of each piece into the chocolate, return to the rack and sprinkle sea salt over the melted chocolate before it hardens.
How easy is that? They will keep for weeks in an air tight container.
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