I guess it would have made sense if I posted this right after the post about the irresistable carrot cake, but I got too excited about those german chocolate cupcakes. Oops.
When I was making that fabulous cake for my dad's birthday, I wanted to add something special as a decoration. I've done chocolate shavings before on cakes, or nuts or berries, but never anything more then that. I can't remember when I first saw these, but I figured what better to top the cake than with candied carrot curls. They are super easy, but you must not make these after you have been baking up a storm all night and getting a little on the tired side. Or should I say, cranky side. I had made a whole cake and two dozen cupcakes. I bet you'd be a little cranky too!
It took me two tries before I got these to look curly. The first time I must have made the peels too thin and baked them too long because when I went to wrap them around a wooden spoon, they snapped. Darn. I think I may have used another word at that point to express my frustration. So, I started again and they turned out pretty well. I think I should have put the seams, or ends down so they would have remained a bit more curly, but they still looked good. I'm trying to tell myself, everything doesn't need to be perfect. Those imperfections make them special, plus, everything still tastes just as good! Some day I'll learn.
|you only need a few things to make these cute curls|
|lots of carrot strands|
|water, sugar and carrot peels boiling away|
|boiled carrots ready to bake. Make sure you use parchment paper otherwise these bad boys will stick. Trust me, you do not want to be scraping up carrots off the sheet pan.|
|first round of drying done, now time to get curly!|
|second round of baking done - all curly and ready for the cake!|
Candied Carrot Curls (cupcakeproject.com)
1 large carrot (preferably large and wide) or 2 medium
1 C water
1 C sugar
- Peel layers from carrot lengthwise on one side with peeler until you begin to get wide slices. Peel wide strips, reserving them, until you get about 15 (there will be a few extra).
- Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved.
- Add carrot strips and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes.
- Strain through a sieve into a bowl, discarding syrup.
- Let stand 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 225 F with rack in middle.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper then arrange candied carrot slices flat in 1 layer on sheet.
- Bake until dry but still flexible, about 20-30 minutes. (Leave oven on.)
- Wind carrot strips, 1 at a time, around end of handle of a wooden spoon in a loose spiral, then slip off each curl and return, seam sides down, to lined baking sheet.
- Return curls to oven to dry until crisp, 30 to 45 minutes more. (Some of my curls looked less curly after this step)
- Cool completely on baking sheet. Carrot curls can be made 5 days ahead and cooled completely, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature. Recrisp in a 250 F oven 10 minutes.
I bet these would be super cute on cupcakes too and definitely beats tying to make carrots out of marzipan. Although, I do love me some marzipan. I would just eat it instead of making into fun shapes, so for me, the curls are much better. Although those were pretty tasty on their own as well. I wonder if you could do this with zucchini as a topper for a chocolate zucchini cake? I might just have to try that!