What is cowboy candy? Well now that the holidays have passed I can share it with you because I was giving this as gifts this past Christmas and I didn’t want to spoil the surprise!!
For years I have been making and canning gluten free chicken stock. In fact I even did a YouTube video… check it out HERE. Well during 2015 I started to venture out into other things. One I wanted to share with you today is Cowboy Candy. Essentially, cowboy candy is candied jalapeños. Although I am not a huge fan of spicy foods I know a lot of people who are. I have made a bunch of this last September and October. I served it at holiday dinners and potlucks in addition to giving it as Christmas gifts. I am thrilled to announced that it was a huge HIT!!
Although chicken stock has to be pressure canned the cowboy candy does not… it is done using a water bath method, which is similar to the way that jellies are made. Now you don’t have to have a lot of specialized equipment to make these… although it does help to make it much easier to have a canning kit with some of the basic tools, but it can be done without them. However, if you have a large stockpot that can cover the small jars by an inch or two in water then you could be on your way. And it’s nice to know the jars and the basic tools can be purchased on Amazon using the links below or even at your local Walmart!! Please note that ordering from the Amazon links below help support this website without any additional cost to you.
I was directed to this website when I asked for the recipe…. http://www.foodiewithfamily.com/candied-jalapenos/ It’s great and very helpful. Not only does she write beautifully.. she gives a lot of details and great tips!! Check it out for sure!!
The most common serving suggestion for cowboy candy is simply to spread some cream cheese on your gluten free crackers and top with as much cowboy candy that is desired. However, do not think that is the only way… I have heard of people adding it to their chili, to top salads, added to soups, or just straight up on a fork!! But over the holidays it was with the cream cheese and crackers and I got to say it was a MAJOR hit!!
Prior to making these, I had learned of a local store called The Chef Store. There are a few locations around the country and I am lucky enough to have one about 1/2 an hour away… it’s a fun place to explore but it turned out to be a fantastic place to buy jalapeños in bulk!! I was able to get 3 pounds of jalapeños for just a few bucks!! And I made double batches every time so it was a nice savings for sure.
I also kept an eye out for a sale on the jars at my local Target and Ace Hardware stores, which doesn’t happen often but a great thing to stock up on when you see them. This is a great way to keep the cost down and make the gifts more economical!
I hope you give this a shot… remember they make great gifts but this also nice to have on hand for last minute guests dropping by. But keep in mind… they have to sit for two months prior to opening and enjoying so if you find yourself with a day off and wanting to prepare for gifts or to have a tasty treat on hand.
Prior to getting started please read up on the basic water bath canning techniques http://www.freshpreserving.com/tools/waterbath-canning