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Monday, November 4, 2013
As we rapidly approach the holiday season, I am already getting excited about the various goodies I can make to give as gifts to my loved ones. In the last few years, lemon, lime, and orange jelly candies have been staples of my gift giving repertoire. The candies are really tasty, pretty darn quick to make, and folks are always so pleasantly surprised to receive them. Lately, though, I've been trying to think if there was a way to freshen up the idea. My mom, who is an ardent ginger fan, inspired this version. They have such a wonderful flavor, and I've been eating them up very quickly as I've made my test batches. If you like ginger, you'll love these!
The basic process for making them is just like I posted previously when making lemon jellies. You just have one brief extra step because instead of juicing a fruit, you need to steep some flavor. In this case, stronger is better, so don't skimp on the amount of ginger you use. These candies have enough sugar in them to counteract the one-two punch the ginger can sometimes give when it's too strong.
It takes almost half a pound of ginger to get this juice potent enough, so buy plenty! Either cut or scrape the skin off the outside of the ginger and then cut it into thin slices and then cut those slices into small sticks. I cut up one and a half cups of small ginger sticks.
Then you add one and a half cups of water. Pour into a small sauce pan and heat over medium heat just until it comes to a simmer. Turn the heat off and let sit for an hour, stirring periodically. Strain the juice from the ginger first through a fine mesh strainer and then through coffee filters (or similar). You need one cup of ginger juice for this recipe. Surprisingly, the color of these jellies is beautiful without any added coloring. They end up a soft golden color - understated but beautiful.
Yield: 3-4 dozen candies
1 cup ginger juice
(made from 1 1/2 cups finely cut ginger and 1 1/2 cups water)
3 TBS unflavored gelatin
pinch citric acid powder (~1/16 tsp) optional
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1-2 cups sanding sugar
Prepare the ginger by cutting or scraping off the skin. Slice thinly and then cut into small sticks. Place the ginger in a small saucepan with 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let steep for one hour, stirring occasionally. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and then through a coffee filter. Measure out one cup of the now cooled juice.
Mix together the ginger juice and the unflavored gelatin. Stir and let sit while the sugar heats on the stove. If desired, add the citric acid and stir to mix. Prepare a 4x13 pan or similar dimensions by spraying with oil and then line with parchment. Spray the parchment with oil as well. Set aside.
Pour the sugar into a sauce pan, add the water, and gently stir. Stir over medium-high heat until the sugar has dissolved. Stop stirring and place a candy thermometer in the pan. Continue heating without stirring until the mixture reaches 255 degrees. Pour the gelatin mixture into the hot sugar mixture, stirring completely. Pour into the prepared pan. Let sit at room temperature for at least four hours.
Pour one cup of sanding (or regular granulated sugar) on a sheet pan. Turn out the candy onto the sugar. Spray and pizza cutter with oil and cut the candy into strips and then square pieces. Toss in the sugar to coat all sides. Let the candy sit out at room temperature for two days, turning frequently.
For more details on making this candy, view the post on making lemon jellies.
NOTE: The citric acid is completely optional in this candy, but can help to keep the candy from becoming cloyingly sweet if you do not make a strong enough ginger juice.