Cowboy Candy (Candied Jalapeños)

December 31, 2020 || By: Hope F

Ready for a whole new spin on jalapeños? Get ready for Uncle Jerry’s Cowboy Candy! This is a must have for any and every occasion, whether on a charcuterie board with bread/crackers and brie, or on a slice of pizza, or glazed on salmon or any other smoked meat. This special treat can go on basically anything you can think of, and your food experience will never be the same… This recipe is adapted from Tasty Kitchen.

Recipe: Prep Time – 1 hour 45 min, Canning/Jarring Time – 2 weeks (I promise it is worth the wait)

Supplies:

  • Sharp Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Big Colander (to wash jalapeños)
  • Stock Pots (cooking the jalapeños)
  • Funnel
  • 16oz Jars (9 or more)
  • Measuring Cup
  • GLOVES (you NEED these for cutting your jalapeños)
  • Big Pot – for canning
  • Big Slotted Spoon
  • Towels or a Rack

Ingredients:

  • 3 Pounds Firm, Fresh Jalapeño Peppers (Washed)
  • 2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar (Bragg’s, Organic, Raw, Unfiltered)
  • 6 cups White Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cups Brown Sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celery Seed
  • 3 teaspoons Granulated Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper

How to make:

  1. First, make sure that you are wearing a pair of disposable gloves (and make sure you have a lot of extras). Lay out a cutting board/sharp knife, paper towels, and a big bowl, all on your table.
  1. Then wash your jalapeños, very well (and make sure that your jalapeños aren’t mushy). Set them aside for the moment.
  2. Prepare your big pots that are on the stove. Put the apple cider vinegar, white granulated sugar, brown sugar (optional), turmeric, celery seed, granulated garlic, and ground cayenne pepper into your pots.
  1. Stir this mixture and put on medium heat. Continue stirring every now and then.
  2. While the mixture is on the stove, you want to start cutting your jalapeños. Cut off the stems (throw them in the trash) and cut the jalapeños in small pieces (1/8-1/4″ thick). Every now and then, clear your cutting board and put the chopped jalapeños into your slotted bowl. To do all of the jalapeños, this took around an hour.
  1. When the slotted bowl is filled up with jalapeños, you want to rinse them off in the sink (making sure to get rid of some – but not all of – the seeds, or else it would be too hot).
  1. Once rinsed, put the jalapeños into one of the pots and mix them around with the sugar mix.
  1. Depending on how many of the big pots you have (we had 3), you’ll want to repeat this process.
  2. Once all the jalapeños are in the pots, turn up the heat to a boil, then turn heat to med/low and cook it until the jalapeños are soft and olive green (about 5 minutes). Keep mixing every now and then.
  3. To prepare for putting the jalapeño mixture into the jars, put a towel or some guard over the countertop since the turmeric will stain your counter!
  4. Line the jars up on the towel, and put a funnel over the closest jar.
  1. You’ll know that the jalapeño mixture is ready to go into the jars when the jalapeños have turned from a bright green, to an olive green. They will also be softer.
  1. Next, you’ll want to scoop the candy mix into the jar with the slotted spoon, you’ll want to press it down to really pack it into the jar. Then you want to pour some of the juice to the rim.
  1. Once the jar is filled, you want to wipe the edge of the jar with a wet paper towel, then put the lid on it and set it aside.
  2. Repeat the filling/sealing of the jars until all of them are filled/all the jalapeños are gone.
  3. Then, rinse the jars under some running water to get any extra sugar off.
  4. Next, you’ll want to use one of the big pots (the one you didn’t use for the mixture) and fill it with boiling water.
  5. Put the jars into the pot and make sure that they are at least an inch covered with the water.
  6. You want pot with the jars to be on a roiling boil for 10-15 minutes. Make sure the water is at least 1″ above the jars (higher than shown in the picture here.)
  1. Lastly, you’ll want to pull the jars out and put them on a towel or rack. In a time span of a few hours, you’ll hear them softly “pop” and that’s how you know that they are sealed. Then let the jars sit for 2 weeks. I know that this is a long time, but trust me, it is DEFINITELY worth it.
  1. Make sure to shake the jars by gently turning them upside down and back again every other day to keep the mixture even.

Notes:

  • Put in the refrigerator after opening

Peppermint Macarons

December 20, 2020 || By: Hope F

We all have those guilty pleasures during Christmas time: Peppermint Junior Mints, Candy Canes, Peppermint Oreos, you name it! These macarons are exactly that, except if you end up making them correctly then they may be more of a “well deserved pleasure”! From the red and white swirl, to the candy cane crumble on the edges, taking a bite of one of these is surely a delight! They would go great with tea or hot chocolate too.

Recipe: Prep Time – 1 hour, Cook Time – 40 min

Ingredients:

Extra Ingredient:

  • 1 Candy Cane

Macaron Shell:

  • 100 grams egg whites 3.5 oz
  • 100 grams granulated sugar 3.5 oz
  • 105 grams almond flour 3.7 oz
  • 105 grams powdered sugar 3.7 oz
  • GEL Food Coloring – I used a bit of red to get that nice red swirl

How to make the shell:

  1. Sift the powdered sugar and almond flour together, then set aside. You could also put these in a food processor to make the mixture very fine.
  2. In a large bowl, start whisking the egg whites. Use a hand mixer to whisk them until they’re white and frothy – adding the granulated sugar intermittently – then bring it up to medium speed until you start to get firm peaks (keep adding sugar). Finally, bring it up to a high speed and mix in the last of the granulated sugar until stiff peaks* are formed. *You can tell if the peaks are stiff by lifting the bowl of meringue upside down and it stays still.
  3. Sift the powdered sugar/almond flour mix into the meringue and start folding it in. To fold it in: use a spatula and move it in a half circle in the bowl going clockwise, once you reach the halfway point, pull the spatula towards you and then to the left in another circle (think of it as making a J with the spatula). While mixing like this, add in the food coloring. You will know that the batter is ready when you can lift some of it up with the spatula and let it fall and form a figure-eight, the batter should not just fall in clumps or break, it should be smooth and flowing.
  4. You have to be careful with step 3, because there is such a thing as over-mixing in which case the batter will be too runny. You will probably not get this right away, it took me a full summer of fails to finally get this.
  5. Now you want to prepare the piping bag before you put the batter in. I put the piping bag into a glass to keep it steady, and then painted 3 or 4 even placed stripes into it.
  6. The piping bag is ready, so immediately put the batter in, and then put the piping bag filled with batter into a cup while you prepare a baking tray.
  7. You want to put a piece of parchment paper on a baking tray, or – if you really start getting into macarons – you can get a macaron silicone mat (silpat) that has the outline of a macaron.
  8. Now that the tray is ready, you can take the piping bag out of the cup and pipe the batter onto the parchment paper or silpat at a 90° angle. Pipe it by applying pressure for a few seconds and then lift it up and twist the bag slightly.
  9. After piping as many circles as you can, bang the tray against the counter a few times. We do this in order to get rid of all air bubbles and (hopefully) prevent any cracking of the shells. You can also lift up the tray about a foot over the counter and let it drop onto it.
  10. Next, let the shells sit out for about 30 minutes until they develop a “skin,” which can be described as the shell batter being tacky and having a matte finish (instead of being shiny). Depending on how humid it is, you might have to let the macarons sit for longer than 30 minutes.
  11. While the shells are sitting out, pre-heat the oven to 300°F.
  12. Bake the tray for 18-20 minutes, rotating every 4 minutes to make sure the macarons don’t end up lopsided.
  13. When the macarons are ready, they will have a darker color, will have formed feet and will come off the mat (or paper) easily.
  14. Let the macarons cool fully before assembling them.

Peppermint Buttercream:

  • 1 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar sifted
  • 4  tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 -1 tablespoon milk if necessary

How to make the buttercream:

  1. Cream the butter at medium speed for a minute, then add the sugar while on low speed and continue mixing until incorporated, once incorporated, mix on medium speed until fluffy (about 1 to 2 minutes).
  2. Add the peppermint, vanilla, and milk and mix for around a minute. If the mixture is too runny, add in some more sugar. If it’s too stiff, add some milk.
  3. Once you have the right consistency, you can store the buttercream in a fridge for up to a week.

To Assemble the Macarons:

  1. This step is optional, but I like the added flare. You can crush up a candy cane into small pieces and then sprinkle it around the edge of the macarons. This means that when you pipe the buttercream, you’ll want to pipe it so that it makes it to the outer edges of the macarons.
  2. Pipe some buttercream on half of the macaron shells.
  3. Press another shell lightly on top.

Notes:

  • You can store the macarons in the fridge for up to 5 days, or 1-2 months in the freezer.
  • Baking time/temp: this will depend on the humidity level at your house and the temperature of your oven, some experimentation is always good (some oven temperatures vary and it would be a good idea to invest in an oven thermometer to be more accurate).

Pear Macarons

December 20, 2020 || By: Hope F

These macarons are a perfect fruity summer treat, but really – if you’re impatient like me hehe – you can make them any time of year. I first made these for one of my teachers, ironically it was for winter break, and they were a hit! They have a pear jam in the center and a buttercream rim. Now, I hate when websites have the recipe at the very bottom of the page, so here it is (adapted from Pies and Tacos).

Recipe: Cook Time – 40 min, Prep Time – 1 hour 30 min

Ingredients:

Macaron Shells:

  • 100 grams egg whites 3.5 oz
  • 100 grams granulated sugar 3.5 oz
  • 105 grams almond flour 3.7 oz
  • 105 grams powdered sugar 3.7 oz
  • GEL Food coloring – around 2 drops of green and 1 drop of yellow, the yellow brightens the green color to get that nice pear look

How to make the shells:

  1. Sift the powdered sugar and almond flour together, then set aside. You could also put these in a food processor to make the mixture very fine.
  2. In a large bowl, start whisking the egg whites. Use a hand mixer to whisk them until they’re white and frothy – adding the granulated sugar intermittently – then bring it up to medium speed until you start to get firm peaks (keep adding sugar). Finally, bring it up to a high speed and mix in the last of the granulated sugar until stiff peaks* are formed. *You can tell if the peaks are stiff by lifting the bowl of meringue upside down and it stays still.
  3. Sift the powdered sugar/almond flour mix into the meringue and start folding it in. To fold it in: use a spatula and move it in a half circle in the bowl going clockwise, once you reach the halfway point, pull the spatula towards you and then to the left in another circle (think of it as making a J with the spatula). While mixing like this, add in the food coloring. You will know that the batter is ready when you can lift some of it up with the spatula and let it fall and form a figure-eight, the batter should not just fall in clumps or break, it should be smooth and flowing.
  4. You have to be careful with step 3, because there is such a thing as over-mixing in which case the batter will be too runny. You will probably not get this right away, it took me a full summer of fails to finally get this.
  5. Once the batter is ready, put it in a piping bag with a tip ready (usually a small tip is good for controlling the piping). Put the piping bag filled with batter into a cup while you prepare a baking tray.
  6. You want to put a piece of parchment paper on a baking tray, or – if you really start getting into macarons – you can get a macaron silicone mat (silpat) that has the outline of a macaron.
  7. Now that the tray is ready, you can take the piping bag out of the cup and pipe the batter onto the parchment paper or silpat at a 90° angle. Pipe it by applying pressure for a few seconds and then lift it up and twist the bag slightly.
  8. After piping as many circles as you can, bang the tray against the counter a few times. We do this in order to get rid of all air bubbles and (hopefully) prevent any cracking of the shells. You can also lift up the tray about a foot over the counter and let it drop onto it.
  9. Next, let the shells sit out for about 30 minutes until they develop a “skin,” which can be described as the shell batter being tacky and having a matte finish (instead of being shiny). Depending on how humid it is, you might have to let the macarons sit for longer than 30 minutes.
  10. While the shells are sitting out, pre-heat the oven to 300°F.
  11. Bake the tray for 18-20 minutes, rotating every 4 minutes to make sure the macarons don’t end up lopsided.
  12. When the macarons are ready, they will have a darker color, will have formed feet and will come off the mat (or paper) easily.
  13. Let the macarons cool fully before assembling them.

Pear Filling:

  • 2  cups pears (I used 2 D’Anjou and 2 Bartlett pears), chopped small
  • 2  tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • A pinch of ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I use freshly ground)
  • 1/2  teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons cold water

How to make the filling:

  1. Put the chopped pears, lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg to a small saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, while stirring occasionally, until pears are soft.
  3. Mix cornstarch with water and put it into the saucepan, cook it for 1 to 2 minutes until it has thickened.
  4. Use an immersion blender to puree some of the filling if you like your filling smooth.
  5. Remove the filling from the pan and put it in a bowl in the fridge to cool.

Buttercream:

  • 1 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar sifted
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract – usually buttercreams call for 1 teaspoon, but I’m a vanilla addict 😉
  • 1/2 -1  tablespoon  milk as necessary

How to make the buttercream:

  1. Cream the butter at medium speed for a minute, then add the sugar while on low speed and continue mixing until incorporated, once incorporated, mix on medium speed until fluffy (about 1 to 2 minutes).
  2. Add the vanilla and milk and mix for around a minute. If the mixture is too runny, add in some more sugar. If it’s too stiff, add some milk.
  3. Once you have the right consistency, you can store the buttercream in a fridge for up to a week.

To Assemble the Macarons:

  1. Pipe either a ring of buttercream, or little dollops/pearls of buttercream (what I did in the picture) around the edge of the macaron shells.
  2. Spoon some of the pear filling into the center.
  3. Press another shell lightly on top.

Notes:

  • You can store the macarons in the fridge for up to 5 days, or 1-2 months in the freezer.
  • Baking time/temp: this will depend on the humidity level at your house and the temperature of your oven, some experimentation is always good (some oven temperatures vary and it would be a good idea to invest in an oven thermometer to be more accurate).