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from the kitchen of Sharmagne Leland-St. John
2 pounds chestnuts, shelled
2 pounds granulated sugar
2½ cups water
1 vanilla bean caviar
Place the chestnuts in a large pan with enough water to just cover them.
Bring the water to a boil and cook the chestnuts for 10 minutes. Drain
and discard the liquid. Rub the thin brown skins off the chestnuts with
a clean kitchen towel.
In a separate pan, bring the water, granulated sugar, and the vanilla
caviar to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue cooking the sugar
mixture, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Add the skinned chestnuts to the boiling syrup and stir until it returns
to a boil. Continue cooking, stirring frequently for 10 minutes. Pour the
entire mixture into a large container, and loosely cover it. Allow the
chestnuts to soak in the syrup for 12 to 18 hours.
Place the chestnuts and syrup into a saucepan and repeat the process; this
time boil them for 2 minutes, and then soak the mixture, loosely covered,
for 18 to 24 hours. Repeat the entire process a total of 3 to 4 times, until
the syrup has been absorbed by the chestnuts.
Preheat the oven to 250°F 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 1 hour, until they have
firmed up and the surfaces of the chestnuts are dry.
Place in fluted paper candy cups and serve.