I love candied Ginger.
Gingersnap cookies, gingerbread, apple pie, granola, by the fistful: there's no wrong way to eat the golden nugget. But oh man, that stuff is pricy... and while I understand time is money, you'll thank yourself for putting a bit of time into this treat.
I enjoy peeking behind the curtain to discover the inner workings of a beloved food which is why, when faced with a dilemma for Earl Grey Ginger Peach Petit Fours I thought "now's my chance. It's time to candy."
It's not super difficult but I did photograph the process so that there would be no misunderstandings as far as steps are concerned.
2 CUPS GINGER Peeled and diced into 1/4" Chunks
2 CUPS WATER
2 CUPS SUGAR
1 CUP COARSE SANDING SUGAR
Using the edge of a spoon, or a vegetable peeler, to peel the skin off of your ginger.
Chop into 1/4" thick chunks. I quartered my large pieces of ginger lengthwise before chopping 1/4" thick, but it's really up to you what shape you want. I needed something with some heft for a garnish, but perhaps you would prefer long thin strips... either way it's good to begin with some sizable pieces as they will shrink a bit over the process.
In a saucepan bring your sugar and water to a boil before adding your ginger pieces.
Turn heat down to medium/high and add your ginger to the syrup. Allow it to boil and reduce for around half an hour. Depending on your stove top this time may vary.
You'll know it's ready when your ginger pieces are a little translucent and the syrup has thickened. It should be bubbling in a thick layer over your ginger like so:
Pour your syrup and ginger though a fine mesh sieve, catching the syrup in a separate pot. Set your ginger aside. If you would like to (and you should) you can use the syrup for flavoring sodas, topping ice cream, and flavoring buttercream etc. If syrup is too thick and beginning to crystalize add a little more water and bring to a boil again. OR continue to boil it until you reach hard candy stage and make yourself some ginger suckers or hard candies: get creative!
Spread your candied ginger onto a parchment lined baking sheet and allow to cool for 5 minutes or more. It should be cool enough that you are not going to burn yourself handling it, but not dry.
Place Ginger in a bowl filled with coarse sugar. Using your hands (gloved if possible) you are going to massage the ginger and coarse sugar so that the sugar clings to the ginger and produces a sparkly finish. Once you are sure all of your ginger is coated and there are no large clusters of ginger stuck together. you can begin to remove it form the sugar.
I used a slotted spoon because I did't have a large hole sieve available at the time but you would make quick work of this step if you did use a sieve. I saved my remaining coarse sugar for a later use (topping pies and cookies etc.) and spread the candied ginger out on a new piece of parchment to dry... Drying took maybe half an hour max.
To store: keep in an airtight jar on the pantry shelf. Not sure on the shelf life with these little guys but I imagine it's quite a while...