Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Brittle Kind of Day

Tonight was Creative Sisterhood. It was the first night in ages that all six of us have been here. I didn't really have a topic tonight. There were a lot of things on my mind, but I just didn't feel much like sharing. My life is going in so many different directions these days that it's a struggle for me to focus enough to verbalize even a fraction of what's going on in my head and heart.

I made peanut brittle tonight. It's odd how that came to be...

I went to Roy's today for lunch and while I was there a gentleman came in and gave Anne some cashew brittle. She generously shared some with me. I had thought last night about making peanut brittle for tonight so that seemed to be a sign for me.

Anne was talking about what a pain it is to make, and I told her it didn't seem bad to me. Bear in mind that last Christmas was the first time I'd ever made any, so it's not like I'm too experienced. After a quick lunch I went to buy some raw peanuts - the one thing I didn't have in the house - so I'd be prepared to cook at 5.

As if this isn't enough peanut brittle talk for one day, I have the food network on right now and Alton Brown is talking about - guess what? - making brittle. He makes it sound somewhat complex. Maybe I've just been having beginner's luck. And, I have a candy thermometer and I'm not afraid to use it. I know it's kind of cheating, but I'm not my Mama, and when I make candy without a thermometer it can just be an ugly experience. No one needs that.

Alton says there are times you're supposed to stir and not supposed to stir, but I can't tell you that. I guess I've been lucky because I haven't had any problems, even without this knowledge.

Here's the recipe I used. I don't recall where I got it but probably from as that's one of my favorite spots online for recipes.

Peanut Brittle
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
2 cups raw 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 cookie sheets, spreading with spatula. Break up when cold.

When you add the butter and soda it gets all frothy for a few seconds. For reasons I don't fully understand, I particularly like this part. Maybe it's the cooking as chemistry part of it all.

Then you just pour it out to cool.

When it's cool just twist the pan and it cracks. Alton Brown held another pan over it and shook them to break. He also used a cookie sheet the same size and "stacked" them when he first poured it out. He smashed on the top pan  to make sure there was only one layer of peanuts. That's a good trick to remember.

It's weird that three times brittle would come up in one day - but today was the day.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring.

No comments: