The pairing of sweet and heat comes to absolute life in cowboy candy, a.k.a. candied jalapeños. It’s the two flavors in their simplest form, with a little tang to boot. Cowboy candy is a go-to when you have those extra jalapeño peppers sitting around at the end of a growing season. It’s a simple recipe that uses many spice rack staples like turmeric, celery seed, and cayenne pepper.
We think, though, once you try them, you won’t want to wait. Pick up a pound of jalapeños at your local grocer and make them throughout the year. They are a delicious snack or appetizer with crackers, cheeses, and fruits. Try them, too on sandwiches, especially paired with salty meats. Or pop some candied jalapeños on their own to experience that sweet-heat in its purest form. Be ready, though. There’s a reason they are called cowboy candy. This is one seriously bold snack.
Candied jalapeños also make an excellent surprise ingredient in barbecue sauces. They’re especially good with sauces that already have an earthy sweetness to their flavor. Try them simply diced or mash the cowboy candy and blend it fully into the sauce. Mashing and combining into the sauce will make for a much spicier experience.
Three recipes that use candied jalapeños:
- Candied Jalapeño Barbecue Sauce: This one makes a terrific pulled pork sauces, but it’s super-tasty with many meats or as a dipper.
- Spiced Pineapple Upside Down Cake: We use candied red jalapeños here. And they are a great pairing with pineapple.
- Slightly Spiced Clementine Cake: Candied jalapeños are an option for layering atop this cake. Citrusy clementines and the sweet spice of cowboy candy are terrific together.
Cowboy Candy (Candied Jalapeños)
- In a small pot, add all ingredients except for the jalapeños. Bring the pot to a quick boil, then lower the heat to simmer the mix for 5 minutes.
- Add the jalapeño pepper rings and simmer for 5 additional minutes.
- Scoop the jalapeños out of the liquid and place them evenly across two pint-sized canning jars. Top the jars with the sugar-vinegar, leaving 1/4 inch of head space in each jar. Cover with airtight lids.
- Place the jars in a large pot and fill the pot with hot water. Cover the two pint jars by two inches.
- Turn the range heat to high and bring the hot water bath to a boil, then allow the jars to sit in the bath for 10 minutes.
- Carefully remove the jars from the hot water bath and set them to the side to cool. Refrigerate the candied jalapeños once the jars reach room temperature.
- Eat once chilled, or for best flavor allow the cowboy candy to sit at least overnight.