Monday, October 8, 2012

Candied Cowboys, YeeeeeHAH!

THESE are the boys!  Hot as a brothel on nickle night!

If you had off today, maybe you went and got yourself all roostered up last night, well, now we're gonna deal with some boilin' hot sugar to tame those cowboys.

Get ready to make Candied Cowboys AKA Candied Jalapenos:

#1. Get some jalapenos!  Jalapenos are plentiful now but almost over, so get 
out there and pick (or buy!) a bundle at your local farm or farmer's market.  Get organic if at all possible.  Mine are from my (organic) CSA, of course!  Just get as many as you can, because it takes about a full pound to fill a pint jar.  I had probably about, I don't know, 30 peppers in total? 
 It felt like about a million.

Really, Dawn? Why is that?

Because I painstakingly removed the ribs and seeds while leaving the rounds in tact.  OMG.  It sucked.

Don't forget to wear gloves.  Please wear the gloves or your eyelid will swell up and start to burn, or other, well, areas that your spicy hand may have touched! 

Here is the carnage, jalapeno shaped!
If all those ribs and seeds were in there it'd be hot as hell.  

Here are the rounds, sans seeds & ribs:
I didn't want them to be so hot they were inedible.  We'll see if it was worth it later...

OK, so once you prep your peppers while wearing your gloves (slicing them into rounds either with ribs & seeds, or without), get ready to make your syrup. You can also de-rib and de-seed and cut them into strips, which would be much faster (but not nearly as pretty).  

Candied Cowboys, YeeeeeeHAH!

Fill your big 16 quart canner (or just a really big pot) with water, and start heating it on one of your burners at the beginning of your process so it is at least warm when you are ready to add your jars.

3 Pounds Jalapeno Peppers 
(If you have the full 3 pounds, you will get about 4 pints of peppers, if not still make this much syrup anyway and can the syrup itself! You'll see why later...)
6 cups sugar
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Celery Salt
1 tsp Smoked Spanish Paprika
Cloves of fresh garlic, sliced, or 2 tsp Garlic Powder

*Notes: This is my interpretation of cowboy candy, many versions of which can be found on the web.  In my version, I am trying to get some really delicious, smoky, and spicy (but not insanely hot) syrupy peppers for myriad uses. Some people also add 1 tsp cayenne to their jalapenos, with the seeds and ribs still left in there, but  that could be insanely hot.  And, I like hot, but I also want edible, I want to enjoy these without fire coming out of my ears.

*Also, don’t use your fancy organic sugar for this, or your fancy apple cider vinegar, just get the store brands.  The fancy vinegar was the only stuff I had in the house, but I did have a bag of cheap sugar, thank goodness, because normally, I never buy it.  


In an 8 quart stock pot, add all the syrup ingredients (but don't add the peppers, yet!).  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for five minutes.  
Now, add the jalapenos and simmer for four minutes.  Many recipes say "exactly four minutes," I have no idea why that is specified.  
I threw some other hot Italian peppers in there, too, as I only had about 20 or 25 jalapenos.

Using a slotted metal (!) spoon or strainer, scoop out the peppers and load them into clean pint (or half pint) jars to within 1/4 inch of the top of the jar.  You don't have to preheat the jars this time.  
I only had about 1.5 pints of peppers to work with, but that's OK!

Now, turn up that heat and bring your syrup back to a boil.  Boil hard for six minutes.
Had I realized that after probably 40 minutes to an hour of meticulously removing ribs and seeds from my jalapeno rounds, that I would then have to pour boiling hot sugar into jars without the funnel, well, I'm not sure I would have made this.  I'm dexterous but after all that fine knife work, wearing the gloves, trying to remember not to rub my eyes or touch anything else, I was beat.  I totally forgot to use the funnel to pour the boiling sugar syrup into the jars, plus, once I did actually remember the funnel, it was in the dishwasher anyway.  So, I used my tiny ladle o' doom to finish the job freehand, wearing my thick oven mits to hold the hot jars and protect my hand from the boiling hot sugar syrup.  Huzzah!

Using YOUR funnel, pour the boiling syrup into your pepper jars to within 1/4 inch of the top.  Stick a clean wooden chop stick (or "bubble remover," usually the flat end of the magnetic lid placer in your canning set) down into the jar to release any trapped air bubbles.  Adjust liquid level if necessary.  Wipe jar tops with a damp paper towel, and put on your two piece lid, screwing until you just meet resistance (or "fingertip tightness.")

Definitely put the leftover sauce in a pint jar and process that, too.  I am guessing it will be great to baste seitan steaks, marinate tofu, or to brush over veggie burgers, veggies, etc. OH, and we will make an awesome Candied Cowboy Martini (with gin or vodka, and some extra olives and jalapenos in there!) later on to celebrate The 'Fomestead!

Now, using your jar lifter, lower your jars into the (should now be) simmering water.  Water should cover tops of jars by about two inches.  Bring to a boil, and process for 15 minutes (pints) or 10 minutes (half pints).  When done, again, using your jar lifter, carefully remove jars and set to cool, somewhere that isn't drafty, where the jars will not be disturbed for about 24 hours.

Jars will seal as they cool.  You will hear the sweet "snap" of the jar sealing itself.  All three of my jars sealed within about an hour of coming out of the water bath, but they are hot for a good long while.  Let them sit about 24 hours before moving them.

Once they are cool, etc. you can label them.

Now we have to wait!!  Sorry, guys.  We have to wait two weeks (at a minimum) to eat them.  But, when we do, it will be a party!  At least I did these last Monday, so we only have another week or two to go.


When I'm done with you, there won't be enough left of you to snore.

Homesteading it, October 1st through October 31st, 2012

P.S. I made my Squash Mac and Smoky Southern (Italian) Collards tonight, YUM.


  1. oh Yum! Yes, with a capital Y.

  2. I am here to salute your meticulous cutting of the jalapeno rounds. Well played.

    1. Gracias, oso panda con galletitas! :-)

      (Thank you Panda Bear with Cookies :-) I'm practicing my Spanish!


  3. I made a similar recipe once and my heat loving husband had to toss the whole batch. Too hot! I hope your's are edible!

    1. I know, I can't believe people leave the ribs and the seeds in the jalapeno slices and THEN add cayenne to the syrup, that's nuts. I'm pretty sure these will be edible, since I took the time to de-rib and de-seed every single slice and I can tolerate the heat when eating them raw (de-ribbed and de-seeded).

      I also didn't add any cayenne to the syrup.

      The Sheriff says, "Everything seems to be in apple pie order here, ma'am."

      Have a good day, ya' hear?


  4. These look good; a nice alternative to picked jalapenos.

  5. I can't believe I've never heard of these. I love spicy!

    1. Me, too. Hope these aren't hotter than a brandin' iron!