Friday, December 08, 2006

Peanut Brittle

Yesterday I made Peanut Brittle for the first time. Mama didn't like peanuts so we never made peanut brittle and I have just never gotten around to making it before.

Julie makes it every year with her family and some friends, and she brought some to Creative Sisterhood the other night. I've had it before and it's just delicious. Of course, how could something who's main ingredients are sugar and liquified sugar (syrup) not be yummy?

Once I had the mixture cooking I realized that neither of the two candy thermometers I had were working properly. So, some guess work entered into the process.

My mother always made candy without a thermometer, but I ain't my Mama. I need tools to help me. Even with them sometimes I get it just right and sometimes I get it close to right.

I think I cooked my peanut brittle a little longer than Julie did because mine is a more carmelized color. But, it's tasty. And, I have to confess, I love the crunch when you twist the cookie sheet and it cracks on its own. Fun!

OK, so maybe I'm easily amused. OK, so I know I'm easily amused. But, hey, I'm happy most of the time, too... so there you go.

I'm sure this will not be my last batch of peanut brittle. I'm also thinking cashews or almonds would be good instead of peanuts. Again, what can't be improved by being encased in cooked sugar?

As I write this, I have a sponge cake in the oven. Oddly enough, I've never made a sponge cake either. Considering how much I cook it's amazing I haven't, but I haven't. There has to be a first time for everything.

I used the recipe from the nut factory:

Traditional Peanut Brittle

2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
2 cups raw Spanish peanuts
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. baking soda

Heat and stir sugar, syrup and water in a heavy 3-quart saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Add salt. Cook over medium heat to soft ball stage (234 degrees). Add peanuts at 250 degrees. Cook to hard crack stage (290 degrees), stirring often. Remove from heat.

Quickly, stir in butter and soda. Beat to a froth for a few seconds. Pour at once onto 2 well-buttered 15-1/2x10-1/2x1-inch pans, spreading with spatula. If desired, cool slightly and pull with forks to stretch thin. Break up when cold.

Yield: About 1-1/2 pounds of peanut brittle.

Beautiful Morning

Well, it is warming up a bit here - it's up to 18 at the moment. I woke up about 4:15 but didn't get up until around 7. I napped and did some writing and reading. But about 7 I remembered that my trash was by the back door instead of out in the alley and it's trash day.

Why? Well, to keep people from rooting through it. There aren't any cans in it - I recycle those - but there is something incredibly fascinating about my trash to someone. I understand why celebrities hate it when people go through their trash. I hate it and it's not like someone is going to print the contents of it in one of those trashy tabloids at the check out line.

I've got a red velvet cake in the oven. I was debating heading out to the Dutch Kitchen for breakfast but decided I should cook instead. I'm on track with everything but I will need to be busy today to stay on track. I have a few cleaning things to do yet, and a tiny bit of finishing on decorating but overall things are in decent shape.

Of course, my office door will be closed. It's always a disaster. It's a wonder my fingers have not been crushed by the stuff piled on either side of the keyboard crashing down on them at some inopportune moment.

Besides, the office is my more private room downstairs - it's where I spend a lot of time and where I do a lot of my thinking, planning, organizing. I'm starting to feel more private about such areas - not sure why, but I am.