If chestnuts roasting over a crackling fire evokes 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.
- 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 dish towel (some people prefer to use their fingers), rub the thin skin off the cooked chestnuts. Be careful they will be a little warm, but that's how they need to be to remove the skin easily.
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 for five minutes, but this time stirring occasionally.
Pour the candied chestnuts, along with the 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.
Store the marrons glace in an airtight tin or if making for gifts, put into paper cases and box, or wrap in cellophane. Give to friends and family; they will love them.
This marrons glacés recipe makes 2 pounds.