Transform boring steamed carrots into these Candied Carrots made with fresh carrots, butter, honey and brown sugar.
Do you ever find yourself craving a side dish that perfectly balances savory and sweet? Look no further. These irresistibly delicious candied carrots will have your taste buds singing with pleasure.
From selecting the freshest carrots to perfecting the caramelization process, we'll walk you through every step of the way. Get ready to transform a humble carrot into a show-stopping masterpiece.
Carrots: Using fresh, whole carrots is best; however, you can use baby carrots or defrosted frozen and drained carrots.
Light Brown Sugar
Chopped Fresh Parsley (optional garnish)
Choosing the Perfect Carrots
To ensure that your candied carrots reach their fullest potential, it all starts with selecting the perfect carrots. When it comes to this crucial step, freshness is key.
Look for carrots that are firm and free from any blemishes or soft spots. The ideal carrot should have a vibrant orange color and feel weighty in your hand.
Remember, the quality of your ingredients directly impacts the quality of your dish, so take your time in selecting the best carrots available.
When choosing the size of your carrots, consider the cooking process. Smaller carrots will cook more quickly and evenly, while larger ones may require a bit more time.
Ultimately, the size you choose depends on your personal preference and the time you have available. Just keep in mind that uniformity in size will ensure a consistent cooking time for all the carrots, resulting in a harmonious blend of flavors.
Prepare the Carrots
While it may seem like a simple task, properly preparing the carrots is crucial to achieving the perfect balance of flavors and textures in your candied dish.
Begin by giving your carrots a good wash under cold running water. Remember to scrub them gently with a vegetable brush to ensure they are thoroughly clean.
Next, slice the carrots into discs approximately ½-inch thick. For the larger pieces towards the top, you can also cut them in half so they're bite-sized.
Selecting the Pan
A heavy-bottomed skillet or a wide, shallow saucepan works best, as it allows for even heat distribution and prevents hot spots that could lead to uneven caramelization.
Additionally, choose a pan with tall sides to minimize the risk of the caramel overflowing as the carrots cook down.
How to make Candied Carrots
Start by placing the pan over medium heat; then add the butter, honey and brown sugar. Once the mixture is hot and bubbling, carefully add the prepared carrots, arranging them in a single layer to ensure they caramelize evenly.
Overcrowding the pan can cause the carrots to steam rather than caramelize, so if necessary, work in batches. As the carrots cook, resist the temptation to constantly stir or move them around.
The cooking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your carrots, but as a general guideline, aim for around 10-15 minutes.
Watch the carrots, turning occasionally to ensure even browning and prevent any burnt bits. You'll know they're done when the carrots are tender yet still retain a slight crunch, and the caramel coating has reached an amber hue.
Sprinkle with some Kosher salt and garnish with some chopped parsley to give your carrots a little contrasting color.
Storing the Carrots
If you happen to have any leftovers (which is rare considering how quickly they disappear!), proper storage is crucial to maintain their taste and texture.
Transfer the cooled carrots to an airtight container and refrigerate them promptly. They should be consumed within three to four days to ensure optimal freshness.
If you're planning to make candied carrots ahead of time, you can prepare the candied carrots entirely and refrigerate them in an airtight container before reheating.
This method can save you time, especially if you're planning a large gathering or a busy weeknight dinner. When reheating, ensure the carrots are heated through, but be cautious not to overcook them, as that may result in a loss of their desired texture.
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- Wash the carrots under cold running water and scrub them gently with a vegetable brush.
- Using a sharp knife, carefully remove the green tops, trim off any thin, wispy roots from the bottom end; then peel the carrots using a vegetable peeler.
- Next, slice the carrots into discs approximately ½-inch thick. (For the larger pieces towards the top, you can also cut them in half so they're bite-sized.)
- Place the skillet over medium heat; then add the butter, honey and brown sugar. Once the mixture is hot and bubbling, carefully add the prepared carrots, arranging them in a single layer.
- Watch the carrots, turning occasionally and cook for 10-15 minutes. You'll know they're done when the carrots are tender yet still retain a slight crunch, and the caramel coating has reached an amber hue.
- Sprinkle with Kosher salt and garnish with some chopped parsley before serving.