If chestnuts roasting over a crackling fire are evocative of happy times and holidays, then candied chestnuts are their luxurious cousins, served only as the most indulgent of treats. So beloved is the flavor in France, that the Berthillon Glacier in Paris usually sells out of their dreamy marron glacé within hours. Bring the unique, warmly sweet flavor into your own kitchen with this easy candied chestnuts recipe. It takes a time commitment of a few days to get to the delicious finish line, but active cooking time is less than 30 minutes, in total.
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- 2 pounds chestnuts, shelled
- 2 pounds granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place the chestnuts in a large pan with just enough water to cover them. Bring the water to a boil and cook the chestnuts for 10 minutes. Drain the chestnuts and discard the cooking liquid. Using a clean towel (some people prefer to use their fingers), rub the thin skin off the cooked chestnuts.
In a separate pan, bring the 2 1/2 cups water, granulated sugar, and the vanilla to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue cooking the sugar mixture, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Add the prepared chestnuts to the boiling sugar syrup and stir the chestnuts until the whole mixture returns to a boil. Continue cooking the chestnuts, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Pour the candied chestnuts, along with the vanilla sugar syrup into a large container, and loosely cover it. Allow the chestnuts to soak in the syrup for 12 to 18 hours.
Add the chestnuts and syrup to a clean pan and repeat the process; this time boiling them for 2 minutes, and then soaking the mixture, loosely covered, for 18 to 24 hours. Repeat the entire process a total of 3 to 4 times, until the sugar syrup has been absorbed by the chestnuts.
Preheat an oven to 250F and arrange the candied chestnuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet into the oven and turn off the heat. Allow the chestnuts to dry in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until they have firmed up and the surfaces of the nuts are dry.
This marrons glacés recipe makes 2 pounds.