Cooking while Autistic: Bandito Candy Profane

Detail… detail… detail…

It’s all in the detail. Sez this typical autist.

My personal take on Cowboy Candy is a killer condiment for a spice lover.  Hot, sweet, sour & salty, it doesn’t just wake your mouth up…

It smacks you up side o’ the head and sets you to talking to yourself.

Actually, more like mumbling in joyful confusion over the slow, sweet, lingering burn…

AND, twice fermented, it is crawling with probiotics… The good guy bacteria some folks say aid autisics’ digestion and mood…

Problems for many of us.

Now, many autists have food sensitivities around certain tastes & textures.

My particular sensory processing issues lead me to like extremes…

Say, between the subtlety of nearly spiceless Japanese to rock’em-sock’em Cajun. Most things in between taste… Well, average.

This recipe takes at least two weeks to complete… 3 to 4 is better yet.

But folks who love the slow exquisite joy of a good jigsaw puzzle… Or an intricate Mystery novel…

There are few receiving this as a gift who won’t be amazed.

Hot dogs, brats, burgers… Natch.

But get creative… Chicken salad, ham sandwich, gravy, sauces…

Step 1

Step 1: Brine Fermentation

Brine fermentation adds the tingly tang of lactic acid… And lactobacillus probiotics.


1/4 c +  1 T sea, canning, Himalayan, Celtic, Whatev salt (any salt without iodide)
6 cups water

Mix in large jar until salt thoroughly dissolved. (Only canning salt will not leave a slight white residue on the bottom). Set aside. Enough for 3 batches.


1 lbs fresh firm, jalapeno peppers, washed (optional: soak in half vinegar/half water for 10 minutes to remove pesticides)
3 cloves garlic, smashed then diced into chunks
~2 cups brine
1/4 c starter (optional)

  1. Slice jalapenos into thin rings. Retain entire ring, including seeds (for flavor & nutrition). Include the blossom end, it adds an almost flowery taste… Just cut the woody stem off.
  2. Mix with garlic then pack tightly into a quart jar.
  3. Add enough brine to completely cover the peppers. (Optional: If you have brine from another batch of fresh fermented pickles, add 1/4 cup as starter to speed ferment and add taste).
  4. Cover top with cheesecloth or cotton cloth that breathes, affix with rubber band.
  5. Check daily. By say day 3, you should see tiny bubbles indicating fermentation is successful. If necessary add small amounts of filtered water if you notice evaporation.
  6. You can go to the next step after 7 days, but better yet… Place in refrigerator for another week. The slow fermentation that continues adds complex flavor.

Step 2: 2nd Ferment & Candying

2 C white, natural, or vegan granulated sugar (or 1 1/3 c honey)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
3 cloves garlic, smashed & diced
1/4 – 1 t red pepper flakes
2/3 cup organic apple cider vinegar

  1. Drain jalapenos pickled in Step 1. Reserve brine.
  2. Mix spices, sugar & jalapenos.
  3. Pack into jar used in Step 1 (no need to wash, we’re fermenting to retain the probiotics.)
  4. Add apple cider vinegar. (Use the live organic version only, it contains aceter bacteria & other probiotics. Non-organic vinegars kill probiotics, killing the whole point!)
  5. Add sufficient reserved brine to generously cover.
  6. Replace cheesecloth & rubber band.
  7. Refrigerate 1 to 3 weeks. They’re good after one week. But they get better and better.

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