If you're not familiar with Famous Dave's, it's a BBQ chain that also sells their pickles and sauces in grocery stores. Their sweet pickles have a spicy kick - and they are our favorites - so we wanted a recipe that would be similar. We found a very close copy from Martha Stewart. I'm so happy with the way they came out, I thought I would share Martha's recipe for other potential picklers out there. Although Martha says one recipe makes three pint jars, we tripled the recipe and ended up with 15 well-packed pint jars.
Martha Stewart's Sweet-and-Spicy Bread-and-Butter Pickles
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 heaping tablespoons coarse salt
2 c. ice cubes
3 c. cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
2 1/4 c. sugar
1 t. whole mustard seeds
3/4 t. celery seed
3/4 t. whole black peppercorns
1/4 t. turmeric (I omitted)
1/4 t. crushed red-pepper flakes or 3 dried hot chiles. (I used approxiately 3 times that amount of pepper flakes and Dave still thinks it could use more.)
To draw out excess liquid and increase crunch, toss cucumbers and onion with salt in a large colander. Add ice and toss again. Place over a bowl and refrigerate, tossing occasionally, for 3 hours. Drain. Rinse well and drain again.
Bring vinegar, sugar, mustard and celery seeds, peppercorns, turmeric and pepper flakes to a boil in a saucepan. Add cucumbers and onions. Return to a boil.
Ladle into 3 hot sterilized pint jars, leaving about 1/2 inch below each jar's neck. Wipe rims of jars with a clean, damp cloth; cover tightly with sterilized lids and screw tops. Using tongs or a jar clamp, transfer jars to a rack in a large canning pot or other large, deep pot filled with hot water, being sure to keep jars upright at all times. Jars should be spaced 1 inch apart and should not touch sides of pot. Cover with water by 1 inch. Cover pot, and bring to a boil. Process jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Let Cool. Press down on each lid. If lid pops back, it's not sealed; refrigerate unsealed jars immediately and use within 1 month. Sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.
This recipe can also be used with summer squash. Follow the same procedure except do not return brine to a boil after adding squash.
We tried three jars of squash, just out of curiosity. Not as crunchy as the cucumbers, but not bad and a great way to use the mountains of summer squash we had.