Saturday, October 22, 2011
Cowboy Candy, the Texas Taste Teaser
Cowboy Candy, candied jalapenos, bread and butter jalapenos; no matter what name you give them these tasty taste teasers really pack a punch that leaves your mouth wondering which way to twist.
I'd never heard of them till just a few months after moving to Texas. Then it seemed every which way I turned I was faced with testimonies of pure, unadulterated love for the these sweetly brined peppers too many to count. Being something of a pepper head I was intrigued. The facebook canning group I belong to was all a twitter over the recipe listed in the documents section. It seemed each day there were new photos of recently processed half pints on display. I knew I had been converted without ever having taken a taste when my friend Amy sent me a link to a similar recipe.
I was so sold on the idea that I was determined to make a double batch my first go round. And, boy am I glad I did. I had to make another double batch this week since I was almost sold out of my first batches.
The first thing you'll want to do is wash your peppers. Well, that's a lie. The very first thing you should do is put on a pair of gloves and then wash the peppers.
Then you will cut the stems off and slice the peppers into 1/4 inch slices.
I don't know if it's the environment or the fact that everything in Texas is bigger, faster, spicier, but the jalapenos from my first go round were super hot. And, that's coming from someone who has been known to hold a habanero above her opened mouth all the while taunting the pepper with shouts of, "Bring it!"
I had someone ask me if I could leave the seeds out the next time I made Cowboy Candy because the heat was so intense. I didn't want to slice the ribs out of the pepper and lose the integrity of the "spoke" so I opted to soak the peppers in a sinkful of water to coax more seeds out. It worked pretty well. But, it's really a matter of preference. If you want to scoop out the insides, be my guest.
Next you'll want to gather all your ingredients together as well as prepare your jars and canner. Organization will be your best friend in canning. Besides the three pounds of jalapenos sliced, you will need two cups of apple cider vinegar, six cups of granulated white sugar, one half teaspoon each of turmeric and celery seed, three teaspoons granulated garlic, and one teaspoon ground cayenne powder.
My go to cooking pan is an 18 inch Calphalon dutch oven. It's a work horse and always gets the job done. It heats quickly and has plenty of room. Of course this is not a necessity, but a large, and in charge saucepan is. Add all the above listed ingredients except the peppers, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Once at a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes. Next you will want to add the jalapeno slices and simmer exactly four minutes.
Using a slotted spoon pack your hot jars to within 1/4 inche headspace.
And, a quick word on how I get my jars hot:
I fill my jars with water and then place the jars within the canner and fill the canner with water. I always add two to three more jars than I think I will use, because again, organization is your best friend. And, it really sucks to be in the middle of ladling yummy goodness into jars and realize you need more jars. Place your canner on the stove, cover, and heat till boiling while you're working on said yummy goodness. Just let it boil away happily while you work.
After you've packed your jars with the peppers turn the heat up on your syrup and bring to a full, rolling boil and boil hard for six minutes. Ladle the syrup into the jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Using a chopstick or your handy dandy, Ball tool remove air bubbles by running around the entire inside of the jar.
Wipe the rim with a papper towel moistened with white vinegar, center lids, and tighten bands. Pop these peppers in the canner and process 10 minutes for half pints and 15 minutes for pints.
Now, for the hard part. You really need to let these guys sit and mellow out for a month before tearing into them. Easier said than done. You'll be woken from peaceful slumber as they call out to you through your dreams. I promise.
I'd like to give a big thank you to Bev Dobson for posting this recipe in our group documents. This stuff is awesome!
Yields: 4 half pints
Prepare canner and jars
* 3 pounds Firm, fresh jalapeno peppers, washed and sliced into 1/4 inche slices ***WEAR GLOVES***
* 2 cups cider vinegar
* 6 cups white granulated sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
* 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
* 3 teaspoons granulated garlic
* 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
In a large saucepan, bring all ingredients except peppers to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer roughly 5 minutes. Add peppers and simmer exactly 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon ladle peppers into hot jars leaving 1/4 inche headspace. Turn heat up on syrup and bring to a full, rolling boil. Boil hard for 6 minutes. Then ladle syrup into jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace again if necessary. Wipe rims down with a paper towel moistened with white vinegar. Center lids and tighten bands to fingertip resistance. Then tighten a scosh more. Place jars in canner and process in boiling water for 10 minutes for half pints and 15 minutes for pints.
After processing remove lid from canner but leave jars in for another 5 minutes. Slowly remove jars to a quiet resting place. If you remove jars too quickly they will hiss at you. They might even boo a bit if they happen to be the sassy mouthed type.