Introduction: Candied Chillies (the Extended Version)
These bright & shiny little twirls have a sweet and spicy flavour with a subtle hit of heat, and are great for topping cakes and ice cream, or garnishing cocktails.
This is an extended version of my previous candied chilli photostructable. That first attempt was tasty, but thanks to leaving in the seeds for aesthetic value the burn of the spice rather disguised this. These have a much milder heat, allowing the accompanying flavours to be properly appreciated.
Step 1: Ingredients & Equipment
Though impressive to look at, these sweets are easy to make, requiring very few ingredients.
Some large chilli peppers (mild or medium, depending on your spice tolerance and what you can find)
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup water
Spices (I used a cinnamon stick & a few cardamom pods. Citrus zest is good too)
You'll also need some general kitchen equipment: knife, chopping board, saucepan with lid, seive, baking tray, baking parchment, cocktail sticks/bamboo skewers for making the twists.
Step 2: Preparation
First, prepare your chillies. Slice them in half and remove and discard the seeds, and then cut the peppers into long strips.
If you have quite spicy chillies, as I did, at this stage you might want to reduce that heat a bit. Do this by boiling them for a couple of minutes, and then drain off and discard that spicy water.
Step 3: A Simple Syrup
Now make a simple syrup to poach the chillies in.
Put 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of water and your chosen spices & flavourings into a saucepan and bring to the boil. (If you are making a lot of chillies, or want a good amount of syrup, simply increase the sugar and water at the same rate, keeping the 1:1 ratio)
Once the sugar dissolves into a clear syrup turn the heat low, add the chillies and cover the pan.
Poach the chillies for about 20 minutes, then strain them and remove any seeds/zest you might have added.
Save the syrup you strained off. This is great for flavouring cocktails or drizzling onto ice cream.
Step 4: Baking
Heat the oven to about 90 C/190 F. The heat needs to be low so the chillies crisp but don't burn.
Lay the drained chillies on a pan lined with some baking parchment.
To make the chilli twists, wrap strips of chilli around a wooden skewer/cocktail stick in a spiral. It will help to grease or oil the stick first, since I didn't and had to spend a while carefully peeling warm candy off the wood once they were baked.
Bake the chillies for around 1 hour, until they are crisp. Remove the oven and leave to cool.
Step 5: Ready to Go
Now your spicy sweet is ready to be used in whicever way you fancy. They are great for topping cupcakes or garnishing cocktails, or just muching on as an after dinner treat.
The candy can be stored in a air tight container for a couple of weeks, after which the sugar starts to go a white and crystalises.