Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cowboy Candy, AKA Candied Jalapeños

Cowboy Candy.

Sounds intriguing, right?

The moment I saw this on Tasty Kitchen, made by Rebecca, I knew I had to make them. You can see her original post here.

I have many friends and neighbors who have walked right out of the Wild West.

They aren’t cowboys, per se, but they love everything about West Texas, tumbleweeds and cactus included.

I, however, like any other sane person, love East Texas.

The lush, green trees… the birds and insects… the creeks and rivers, the trees (did I mention trees?)…

So, in honor of the Great Compromise of friendship, I dedicate this recipe to them.

Maybe this will give them their cowboy fill, and we can take our next vacation to Caddo Lake.

First, I washed and dried some cute little half pint jars.

I’m certain the folks at my local HEB thought I was nuts purchasing three pounds of jalapeños. Who buys three pounds of jalapeños? Not I, said the little mouse!

I was already nervous.

When you slice three pounds of peppers, be sure to wear a pair of gloves. The first time I made salsa a few years back, I had forgotten. Oh, but was I reminded a few hours later when I went to rub my eyes. I’ll never make that mistake again!

Please, learn from my ignorance.

Next, we’re going to whip up some witch’s brew!! In a large cauldron pot, bring to a boil your apple cider vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seed, garlic, and cayenne pepper.

No one will notice if you add a few more shakes of cayenne, right? At least not any true cowboys or cowgirls!

Another word to the wise: I may, or may not have had any visitors leave the house while I made these bad boys. I guess I became immune to the smell, but as soon as I dumped the jalapeños into that hot pan, the whole house (all 900 square feet) was enveloped by a spicy gas. What? I didn’t notice anything! ~smiles~  Once you cook down these candied jalapeños, they aren’t as hot. They are a perfect sweet/hot blend. Perfect on a Saltine with cream cheese, like pepper jelly! It’s also great chopped up in potato salad, deviled eggs, anything you want to give a swift kick to.

Bring to a boil, and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Add the jalapenos, cover your nose and mouth, and let it cook for an additional 4 minutes. EXACTLY.

Set a timer, folks.

Once your four minutes is up, use a slotted spoon, and scoop all those peppers into your cute little jars.

Then, bring your liquid back to a full, rolling boil. Boil for six minutes. Mine didn’t thicken up quite as much as I thought it would, but I was still impressed.

Then ladle hot spoonfuls of syrup into the jars.

Wipe the rim clean, and screw on your lids.

You can “can” them (he hee, I said can-can) if you’d like, but I figured I would refrigerate them and give most away anyhow.

This recipe makes about 10 half pint jars of cowboy candy. The jars need to be refrigerated, but keep for a long time. Plus, I tend to think there’s enough sugar in here to preserve a cow, but what do I know? Give a jar to friends and family for Valentine’s Day. Nothing says I love you like a heartburn inducing jar of candied jalapeños.

~Peace, Love, and Peppers Ya’ll

(Here’s an affiliate link to find some of the products used:)

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Cowboy Candy

Yield: 10 half pints

Prep Time: 60 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 1/2 hours, 2-4 cure time


3 pounds Firm, Fresh Jalapeno Peppers, Washed
2 cups Cider Vinegar
6 cups White Granulated Sugar
½ teaspoons Turmeric
½ teaspoons Celery Seed
3 teaspoons Granulated Garlic
1 teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper


Put on a pair of gloves, and slice the jalapeños into thin slices.
In a large pot, bring cider vinegar, white sugar, turmeric, celery seed, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pepper slices and simmer for exactly 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peppers, loading into clean, sterile canning jars to within 1/4 inch of the upper rim of the jar. Turn heat up under the pot with the syrup and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 6 minutes.

Use a ladle to pour the boiling syrup into the jars over the jalapeno slices. Be sure to remove any air bubbles and then wipe the rims of the jars before screwing new lids on.

If you have leftover syrup, be sure to save! It is delicious as a marinade, or an add in to potato salad; the possibilities are endless!

Allow the jars to mellow for 2-4 weeks before using, and store in the refrigerator. I tasted some before the 2 weeks, and they were GREAT! Enjoy!

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