Favourite Recipes for the holidays

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Favourite Recipes for the holidays

Postby Chevette Girl » 06 Dec 2005, 05:31

Anyone else got an old standby they'd like to share? My uncle won't let me in his house for Xmas unless I bring him some of my peanut brittle...

(apologies, I don't cook in Metric, most of my recipe books are American)

Peanut Brittle, makes one cookie sheet full (original recipe is double this but I find it's a pain to manage two pans at once, it's easier to make the recipe twice)

1 - 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup water
2 - 1/2 cups raw peanuts
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cook sugar, syrup and water to 240"F on meduim heat (if you don't have a candy thermometer, drip a bit of the hot syrup into a bowl of cold water, it should form a soft ball that holds together but you can squash if you poke it), then add the peanuts.
Cook to 295"F stirring constantly (once it starts to darken in colour, again drip some syrup into cold water, this time it should form a brittle shard, if you can take it out of the water and bend it without it breaking, keep cooking a few minutes longer and try the drop test again until you get a brittle result).
Remove from heat and add the butter. Stir until it's dissolved, then add the baking soda and salt, quickly stir it in (it will cause some foaming) and then quickly spread as thinly as possible on a greased slab, teflon cookie sheet, or tinfoil-lined not-so-nonstick cookie sheet.
Allow it to cool completely, pop it off the cookie sheet or peel it off the foil, then break into chunks and store in an airtight container or plastic bag.

This works well with any kind of nut (edible! no nuts and bolts in the kitchen while I'm cooking!) I've tried so far (if all you can get is roasted salted peanuts, they work fine, just don't add the salt at the end), but do be careful with whole almonds, once the syrup starts to darken and you start getting close to the final temperature, they sometimes start to pop. I haven't yet had any actual burns, but do be careful nonetheless (as molten sugar is like hot solder, it sticks and it burns), and stir constantly.

I suggest using a heavy-bottomed pot you can hold sideways with one hand (you need to be able scrape the stuff out of the pot quickly without burning yourself), or have a partner available to hold the pot or scrape it out for you.

Variations I've tried: almond, pecan, walnut, hazelnut (before I developed an allergy :shock: ), various combinations of the above... I've even added pumpkin or sunflower seeds and flax meal to pretend it's healthier this way :) :lol: No reason you couldn't add sesame seeds or any other seed or nut...

My aunt uses a variation of this with slivered almonds and add about 1/4 cup butter at the beginning, cook it all together until it darkens and starts to smell burnt, then add the soda and dump it out on a cookie sheet then sprinkle it with chocolate chips, which then melt over the molten sugar...

My most recent experiment is the above recipe halved, done in a small saucepan, using crushed walnuts and dried cherries, with dark chocolate melted on top. I'll let you know how the cherries worked, I don't know if it's better to add them early or late... if they've gone mushy, I guess the answer is to put very dried fruit in right before the baking soda (I had put them in the toaster oven on low to dry them out more, but it looks like they absorbed water during cooking... or maybe they'll cool and be candied)...

I tried the standard peanut version with a non-dairy margarine and the results were mostly acceptable (except that I forgot how much the original full recipe made and it ended up double-thick :oops: ), but for taste, you really can't beat real butter unless you're allergic...

Makes a great snack (protein and everything) or Xmas present... I've made 2 pans each of peanut and almond, one pan of pecan-walnut and the cherry-walnut experiment, most of it will end up as gifts.

"The world is going to hell in Mircos***'s custom-built, feature-rich, user-friendly, bug-infested handbasket." - BCB, 2002
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Postby Chevette Girl » 08 Dec 2005, 04:21

the chocolate-covered walnut and dried cherry stuff turned out absolutely wonderful, if a little chewy (crunchy at first but then becoming reminiscent of McIntosh toffee... if the cherries weren't so expensive, I'd make a full recipe!
"The world is going to hell in Mircos***'s custom-built, feature-rich, user-friendly, bug-infested handbasket." - BCB, 2002
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