What Is Cowboy Candy?

When I first learned about cowboy candy, I was seriously confused. Was it just some candy that a cowboy had? Was it just Billy The Kid’s Reese’s Pieces? Or was there a cowboy named Candy that everyone was talking about. Well, I finally found out about cowboy candy and now you can too. Wha’s cowboy candy? How do you eat cowboy candy? How do you make cowboy candy? Here’s the lowdown on cowboy candy. 

What is cowboy candy?

So, after all this buildup, what’s cowboy candy? Cowboy candy is candied jalapenos. Yep, that’s it. Cowboy candy is just a cute little name for candied jalapenos. You can wear a cowboy hat while you make them and eat them if you want to feel more like a cowboy. What are candied jalapenos? Are they jalapenos turned into candy? No, stop asking so many questions. Candied jalapenos are jalapenos that have gone through a quick pickle process with sugar added. They’re also freaking delicious. 

How to make cowboy candy?

To make cowboy candy, you have to start with fresh jalapenos. Don’t get those pre-pickled ones or anything frozen. You need fresh, plump jalapenos. Slice those suckers thin and be sure to wear some gloves. If you don’t want things to get too spicy, be sure to get rid of any seeds and the white membrane inside the pepper. That’s where the heat comes from. Then simmer the sliced jalapenos in a syrup made of apple cider vinegar, seasoning, and sugars. Most folks usually use a combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar. For your seasoning, turmeric, garlic powder, and celery seed, usually do the trick. You can get a little fancier if you like with some coriander, allspice, or cayenne. Depending on the spice blend you use, you can get some very tangy, spicy cowboy candy with some zest, or go more to a bread and butter pickle mix. Let that mix cool down, then throw it into a jar and keep it in the fridge. Cowboy candy can also be canned at this point and kept as a preserve.

What does cowboy candy taste like?

Cowboy candy tastes sweet with a little heat—almost like bread and butter pickles with a zing and a kick.  

How to eat cowboy candy?

Definitely put on a cowboy hat and some boots to eat this stuff. And every time you take a bite, say, “Boy howdy!” You can eat cowboy candy with whatever you want. Cowboy candy goes great with cream cheese or a nice goat cheese. The zestiness cuts through the creaminess. Throw some cream cheese and cowboy candy on a cracker and you’re all set. You can add cowboy candy to burgers or pour a little of the juice into a cocktail. These sweet and spicy suckers can liven up a sandwich, some fish tacos, deviled eggs, nachos, or baked beans. I like to eat them straight out of the jar. Of course, that’s how I eat most things. I’m always too hungry to cook so I just eat ingredients. 

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

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