A New Take on Cowboy Candy; Candied Jalapeño Cheddar Sourdough Bread

Last Updated on July 17, 2023 by Gabby Hatten

Y’all… when I say this is the best bread I have ever had… I mean it! Seriously, my favorite loaf to date. My household may have eaten the whole thing in one day… I promise you’re going to be obsessed with this candied jalapeño sourdough loaf of bread!  

This bread is so good it’s a meal all in itself, but it also makes the perfect pairing for grilled cheese, bbq sandwiches, and so much more. Aside from the sweet and spicy taste, my favorite thing about this recipe is that it is very forgiving. Toss your ingredients together, do a few stretch and folds and then let your dough rest in the fridge overnight. Easy peasy!

How Did Cowboy Candy Get Its Name?

“Cowboy candy” is the affectionate nickname given to candied jalapeños. The name is said to have originated in the southern United States, particularly in Texas, where cowboys and ranchers used to make and enjoy this sweet and spicy treat.

The term “cowboy candy” likely came about because the candied jalapeños’ combination of flavors and heat aligns with the bold, adventurous spirit of the American cowboy culture. Just like the cowboys themselves, these candied jalapeños are known for their robust and fiery nature, making them a fitting moniker for a treat that packs a punch while still being irresistibly sweet.

The popularity of candied jalapeños, or cowboy candy, has spread beyond the ranches and gained recognition in various regions across the country. Today, they are cherished not only for their delightful taste but also for the nostalgia and sense of adventure they evoke, reminiscent of the cowboy way of life.

I purchase candied jalapeños at my local farmers market, but depending on your area you may not have that option. I do have a couple jalapeño plants growing in my garden and I’m planning to use the harvest to make my own cowboy candy, so if you don’t have the option to purchase I will leave a simple recipe down below.

(Don’t want to wait? You can simply use fresh jalapenos)

Easy Candied Jalapeño Recipe

Making candied jalapeños, or cowboy candy, is a straightforward process. Here’s a simple recipe to guide you through the steps:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh jalapeño peppers (approximately 10-12 peppers)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to your desired level of spiciness)

Instructions:

1. Prepare the Jalapeños:

   – Wash the jalapeños thoroughly and slice them into uniform rings, discarding the stem ends. You can wear gloves while handling the peppers to avoid irritation from the capsaicin (the compound responsible for the heat).

2. Blanching the Jalapeños (Optional, for Milder Heat):

   – If you prefer milder candied jalapeños, blanch the sliced jalapeños in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then drain and rinse them with cold water. This step can help reduce some of the peppers’ spiciness.

3. Making the Syrup:

   – In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the apple cider vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seed, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves completely. If you choose to use green food coloring, add a few drops to achieve the desired color.

4. Candying the Jalapeños:

   – Once the syrup is ready, add the sliced jalapeños to the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for about 5 minutes. The peppers should become slightly softened but still retain some crunch.

5. Jar and Store:

   – Using a slotted spoon, transfer the candied jalapeños to clean, sterilized jars, leaving enough space at the top. Pour the remaining syrup over the jalapeños, covering them completely.

   – Allow the jars to cool to room temperature before sealing them tightly. Store the jars in the refrigerator for up to a few weeks.

Enjoy your homemade candied jalapeños as a delicious topping for burgers, sandwiches, pizzas, or even as a delightful snack. The sweet and spicy flavor combination is sure to add a unique and tantalizing twist to your dishes!

Variations

My motto is always use what you have. I love taking whatever random ingredients I have left in my fridge and just see what I can create with it. If you don’t have candied jalapeños on hand, I will leave a list below on some other great add ins. This recipe is made up of my tried and true artisan sourdough recipe, so you have complete freedom and flexibility with whatever you choose to add in.

  • red onion
  • cream cheese
  • fresh jalapeños 
  • dill pickles
  • swiss cheese
  • green chile
  • monterey jack cheese
  • parmesan cheese
  • bell peppers
  • goat cheese
  • green onion

What You Need

Recipe

This unique recipe will not only satisfy your cravings for something extraordinary but also showcase your expertise in the kitchen. Get ready to indulge in a loaf that seamlessly balances the intensity of spice with a satisfying touch of sweetness. Brace yourself, for our candied jalapeño sourdough loaf will leave you craving for more with each delectable bite.

First, let’s make our dough. Combine 150 grams of active starter, 300 grams room temperature, 20 grams honey, 2 pinches of salt, and 450 grams flour ( I use half all purpose half bread flour) in your mixing bowl. Mix on low speed for about 5 to 10 minutes. Dough should not be overly sticky, it should be coming completely off the sides of the bowl. Next, place your dough into a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature for 30 minutes. While dough is rising, chop your cheddar and candied jalapeños as finely as you prefer. Set aside. After 30 minutes, do your first set of stretch and folds. Once again cover and wait another 30 minutes to complete second set of stretch and folds. After another 30 mins, add your inclusions to the dough before completing the last set of stretch and folds. Once covered, let rise one hour before placing in fridge overnight.

Place your dutch oven in your oven, and pre-heat to 450 degrees. While preheating, take your dough out of the fridge, turn it out onto a floured surface, and roll into a tight ball. Let rest in a floured banneton for 1-2 hours. Next, place your dough onto a piece of parchment paper, score your dough, then place into your pre-heated dutch oven. Lid on, bake for 30 minutes at 450 degrees. After 30 minutes, take the lid off and bake for another 15 minutes. To finish, the your dutch oven out of the oven, place lid back on, and let sit for 10-15 minutes before removing your loaf and let cool on a wire rack for 2 hours. Your crust should be a nice, golden brown. Slice and enjoy!

Candied Jalapeño Butter

I get it, you’re obsessed with candied jalapeños just like me. Quite frankly, simply putting them in the bread is just not enough, amiright? Well lucky for you, I created the perfect spread to pack that extra punch of cowboy candy goodness! And with that, I introduce you to this super simple cowboy candy butter.

What You Need

  • small bowl
  • stick of butter
  • 2-3 spoonfuls of the liquid mixture from your candied jalapeño jar

Place your ingredients in a small bowl and microwave for 30-45 seconds, or until melted. Leave at room temperature or place in the fridge to harden. Add to your freshly sliced loaf and enjoy!

Notes:

Flour: I use an even mix of King Arthur’s All Purpose Flour and King Arthur’s Bread Flour. You can use either one, or even whole wheat flour. Whatever you prefer!

Rise time: Depending on your kitchen temperature, you may need to adjust the rise times. If your kitchen is on the colder side it will take a bit longer.

Plastic wrap: If you don’t have plastic wrap, you can simply use a damp towel or washcloth. You want to make sure the moisture is kept in so it doesn’t dry out or develop a crust.

Easy lunch idea: Toast a slice of the bread, add a thin layer of cream cheese and some shredded rotisserie chicken breast. Voila! A super quick, easy and filling lunch with minimal ingredients.

Tacos: candied jalapeños make a perfect taco topping! My favorite combination is carnitas on a flour tortilla or fried corn tortillas, with sour cream. Sooo good!

candied jalapeno sourdough loaf

Candied Jalapeno + Cheddar Sourdough Loaf

The perfect balance of spice and sweet, this loaf is sure to be gone same day!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Resting 15 hours
Total Time 15 hours 55 minutes
Serving Size 6

Ingredients

  • 150 g active sourdough starter
  • 300 g room temperature water
  • 450 g flour
  • 20 g honey
  • 7 g salt
  • cubed sharp cheddar cheese
  • diced candied jalapeños

Instructions

  • Add starter, water, honey, salt, flour, to the bowl of stand mixer.
  • Mix on low speed for 5 to 10 minutes, or until dough is pulling away from sides of the bowl.
  • Add dough to a large bowl, cover with damp tea towel or plastic wrap.
  • Let rise 30 minutes.
  • Do first set of stretch and folds. Cover and let rise 30 minutes.
  • Second set of stretch and folds.
  • Let rise 30 Minutes, add candied jalapeño and cheese to dough.
  • Do third and final set of stretch and folds to incorporate inclusions.
  • Let rise 30 minutes to one hour before placing dough in fridge overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 450 °F
  • Place your empty dutch oven, lid on to preheat.
  • Turn dough out onto floured surface and roll into tight ball, you should see tight surface tension.
  • Let rest in floured banneton for 1 to 2 hours (you can place parchment paper in banneton)
  • Score your bread, gently lower into dutch oven with parchment paper or bread sling.
  • Bake with the lid on, at 450 °F for 30 minutes.
  • Remove lid, bake for another 15 minutes.
  • Remove dutch oven, place lid back on, and let bread sit for 10 to 15 minutes before removing and let cool on wire rack for 2 hours.

Author Profile

Gabby Hatten
Gabby Hatten
Hello there, I'm Gabby! I am a mother of three, married to my wonderful husband Marco, and I have a deep passion for simple living, vintage homes, and cooking everything from scratch! Although I grew up in Las Vegas, my husband's military service brought us to the east coast, where we have now made coastal North Carolina our home. While I didn't grow up on a farm, I have always been fascinated by that lifestyle and have dedicated my adult life to learning and embracing those skills, which I am excited to share with all of you!

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Recipe Rating




2 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    I have to admit this was a much softer dough and I didn’t see much action in rising until it came out of the refrigerator the next day and warmed up. It baked beautifully and is so delicious! Cowboy Candy Sourdough loaf is a 5 star recipe.