Most months, these pages are graced with exotic ingredients you’ve never heard of, often from far-off locales, plucked from the shelves of international markets. Not this month, friends!
What Is It?
Candied jalapeños are not exotic by nature, but you have to look to find them on store shelves. Affectionately called “cowboy candy,” they hail from Texas, and their name says it all: These spicy-sweet delights are simply fresh jalapeños cooked in a sugary syrup until they eat like candy. They’re hot, sweet, sticky and magnificent, perfect to have around when summer hits its peak. If you keep peppers in your garden, consider this a new way to use them up.
What Do I Do With It?
Candied jalapeños can go anywhere a regular or pickled jalapeño can, but with a specific sweetness that mutes the first bite, and a soft, irresistible texture that plays well with others. Pile them onto tacos, nachos, hot dogs, salads, burgers, pizza or pulled pork, garnish soups or hummus, chop and add to hot or cold dips, baked beans or slaw. Once you plow through the peppers, use the syrup to glaze grilled meats and fish, or add a savory zing to your favorite cocktail or a fresh pitcher of lemonade.
You can find candied jalapeños tucked away in many grocery stores, often in some obscure corner of the jam and preserves section or hanging out with the pickle relishes. If you seek and cannot find, use this recipe: You can add spices to customize it, but I prefer to keep it simple.