Necessity is the mother of all invention. Necessity in this case was born of a smell, at a wine tasting, to plan for another wine tasting, which needed pairings. Pairings that were different than before, worthy of the wine, and worthy of the Godmother’s reputation, worthy to earn their place at a bon voyage affair.
A whiff of Viogner and I smelled candied jalapeno peppers and bacon. It was spicy and sweet with a hint of salt and meat and when balanced together, I knew it would be the perfect creation. A miniature masterpiece that would forever take me back to that warehouse, filled with barrels upon barrels of wine, pleasant conversation with wonderful people, the winemaker’s daughter playing with Princess A, and the first sniff of that Viogner.
Those of you who know me well know that I have horrible eyesight. It wasn’t always this bad, in fact, I didn’t wear glasses until I was seven, but it’s never been very good. To compensate, I have a better sense of smell and so naturally, most of my recipes are created by adding a little of this and that until it “smells” right. If you ever had a chance to peek into the official Goodie Godmother Vault of Recipes, you’d see a lot of “ish” after measurements, phrases like “a bit” sprinkled about scientifically, and in some cases no measurement at all.
The candied jalapenos were somewhat like this, the candied jalapeno bacon Viogner cupcakes coming to the blog in two weeks definitely were. In fact, this will be the first time I actually measure it out. You’re welcome in advance.
I never actually intended to candy the jalapenos myself. The week after our tasting the Godfather and I were taking our little circus up to San Francisco for our wedding anniversary trip. I imagined I’d have no trouble finding candied jalapenos at some specialty food shop, San Francisco has almost everything right? Wrong. I found several varieties of pickled jalapenos, but those wouldn’t do, so to the internet I went and I learned that candied jalapenos are A Thing. It seems it’s called Texas Candy, but when I asked around none of my Texan friends had heard of it. Is this a regional Texas thing?
The closest recipe I found to what I thought I wanted was on Foodie With Family, so I started with that, blending spices in different quantities to smell before deciding what to add to the syrup, and I came up with the variation I needed to match The Smell for The Cupcake to pair with The Wine.
It was perfect! It was also much easier than I anticipated, and I found myself adding the jalapenos to all sorts of things to experiment with flavor combinations. Having tried the peppers both fresh and after a few weeks in the jar, I think they are best to cook with after they’ve had a chance to develop the flavor a little further, but the fresh ones are good too if you have extra (I always have a bit every time). I’ll be sharing the cupcake recipe as promised, but I’ll also share one or two more recipes that incorporate the jalapenos. The sweet/hot combination is the perfect way to add an unexpected twist to recipes or dress up a simple appetizer.
In the meantime, get your hands on some fresh jalapenos before they are way out of season, set aside an hour, and make yourself some candied jalapenos.