Shell and blanch Italian or French chestnuts, cover with fresh boiling water; boil rapidly until tender, but not soft; drain. Split good, oily vanilla bean in halves, cut it into small pieces, add seeds and all to the sugar; then add water and stir until dissolved; bring to the boiling point; let boil a minute; add the chestnuts and cook slowly without boiling, 2 hours, or until chestnuts are soft, dark and very rich. Lift each carefully with a fork, so they do not break, put them in a bottle or jar, and cover with the boiling syrup. Seal and set aside. Will keep.
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