Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Brittle!

So last night I made a bunch of brittle with a friend. Wow! It was actually pretty easy. The thought of a candy thermometer intimidated me, but this $4 purchase was a godsend.

A couple of notes for Brittle in general and then the recipes
1. Aluminum foil is a very important step in the process. Make sure you use it. Also try to avoid overlaps in the paper - they tend to put ridges into the brittle where small pieces of tin foil stick
2. Non-stick cooking spray is SO important. We must have spend 5 minutes removing small pieces of foil from one brittle because I was an idiot
3. Baking sheet, shmaking sheet. I used a tray and a cookie plate, as well. Anything with a slight ridge will work, I think.
4. We used small clear gift bags and wrote out labels to put the brittle in. Each recipe made about 8 bags for us. Be careful to invest in sturdy bags - sharp ends of brittle can slide through plastic bags sometimes.

Okay, so we modified one recipe (out of necessity)

1 cup water
2 cups sugar
2 cups roasted walnuts, broken in pieces
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 stick butter
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

1. prep you pan,tray, etc with foil and non-stick cooking spray
2. Small sauce pan (this is pretty important so that the candy thermometer can sit in it). I never know what small or medium means - for me, the ideal saucepan was about 4 inches deep and maybe 6 inches wide? 8 inches?
Okay, in that saucepan, put water and sugar in and stir lightly. Then add corn syrup and salt. Stick in the candy thermometer and then move it to medium-high heat. Cook until thermometer says 225 degrees.

4. Add walnuts and stir. temperature will go down a bit, but cook until the temperature reads 290 degrees

5. Remove from heat and then add butter, baking soda, and peanut butter - stir.

6. Pour into pan and let cool.

Original recipe

Second brittle we made was Ginger Sesame Brittle This one was my favorite recipe. It didn't make as much as I had thought it would, though, so I'd double this recipe. I also doubled the amount of ginger. It tasted very asian, unsurprisingly. Delicious!

Third brittle we made was Spicy Peanut Brittle. This recipe was kind of a pain because I couldn't find chipolte chile powder, but invested in new chile powder that did come from ground up chiles. This brittle wasn't bad, but it tasty a little cheesy. It was also a cheese-color. I think I'd use a different source of heat if I did this again, perhaps straight up cayenne?

Fourth brittle we made was a disaster. It's beer brittle, but I won't even link to the recipe because it still hasn't set 14 hourus later. When I figure out how to repair it, I'll let y'all know.

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