1 kg chestnuts – shelled,
1 kg granulated sugar,
500 ml water,
1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
In a pan, place the chestnuts with just enough water to cover them. Bring the water to a boil and cook the chestnuts for not more than 10 minutes. Drain the chestnuts and discard the cooking liquid. If the chestnuts still have their thin skin on, using a clean towel rub it off. It is a good idea to keep a little hot water aside, as the skin will adhere to the nut once it has cooled, so to avoid breaking the nut, dip it in the hot water and quickly rub off the skin.
In a separate large pan, bring the water, granulated sugar, and the vanilla to a boil stirring constantly. Simmer for 5 minutes. Gently toss the chestnuts in the boiling sugar syrup and stir until the whole mixture returns to a boil. Stirring frequently, cook the chestnuts for a good 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and allow the chestnuts too cool soaking in the vanilla caramel for 12 to 18 hours.
Repeat the process; this time boiling them for 2 minutes, and set aside the pan, leaving the chestnuts to soak the remaining mixture, loosely covered, for 18 to 24 hours. The entire process should be repeated for 3 to 4 times or until the syrup has been absorbed by the chestnuts.
For the drying process, preheat the oven to 100°c and arrange the candied chestnuts on a parchment-lined (waxed) baking sheet. Place 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 chestnuts are dry.