Fratelli Perata Winery

Cowboy Candy

There are times when a little is enough. It just takes a little of this “candy” to provide a mouthful of flavor. Courtesy of Barbara and Dennis Switzer, here is a surprising adult candy. You’ll need canning jars and lids since this is too large a batch for immediate use. Besides, you’ll want more later on. Even Carol, the Norwegian who doesn’t like it hot, is taken by how good this is. As usual, the key to eating this is balance: if you like it hot, use more candy per cream cheese; if you like the flavor, but the heat’s too much, use more cream cheese and less candy. Either way, this is a real treat.  And when you catch your breath, sip a little young Merlot. Or maybe a glass of milk to coat your throat…

4 pounds jalapeno peppers (canned & drained, sliced, from Costco, Smart & Final, etc)
2 pounds onions, diced
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
6 – 8 cups sugar (I use 6 cups)
2 T mustard seed
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp celery seed (optional)
1 T garlic powder
1 tsp ginger

Prepare canning jars and lids per usual: wash and sterilize jars, Heat lids in boiling water per package.

Place drained jalapenos in pan with water and vinegar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 10 minutes or until peppers and onions are tender (do not breathe fumes).

Pour off most of the water-vinegar mixture, add the sugar and spices, and bring to soft-candy temperature (about 240 degrees) to completely dissolve the sugar-about another 10 minutes.

Place boiling mixture into jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.

Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel; apply two-piece metal canning lids. 
Process in a boiling water canner . (If you are new to canning, we suggest you find a good reference as there can be dangers in not doing it right.)  Let cool, undisturbed, 12 to 24 hours and check for seals.

To serve: Using small squares of bread or toast or crackers, top with cream cheese then a small spoonful of cowboy candy. Arrange on plate and serve.