Monday, March 19, 2007

Peanut Brittle and Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Today is another holiday. It is called Chaitra, from what I understand it is the beginning of the Hindu New Year, and also the beginning of spring. This is often celebrated by sharing greetings and sweets, so in honor of…

Peanut Brittle
Corn oil for oiling the baking sheet
3 cups salted dry roasted peanuts
4 cups sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
2tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Oil a 1 inch rimmed baking sheet with the oil, and oil a spatula and set aside.
Scatter the peanuts over the baking sheet.
Combine the sugar with 1/2 cup cold water and the cream of tartar and cook over a low heat stirring to combine, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to medium high, and bring to a boil. Cook without stirring until the mixture turns a color between butterscotch and caramel (about 10 minutes). While it is cooking use a pastry brush dipped in warm water to wash down the sugar crystals on the side of the pan.
Remove from heat and immediately stir in the butter. BE CAREFUL, it may foam up a bit, and it can splatter.
Immediately pour the mixture over the peanuts using the oiled spatula to smooth the mixture. Let it cool completely for about an hour before breaking it up into chunks and keep stored in an airtight container for up to a week.

This is from a book called Celebrate! It is a really neat book because it's all menus to celebrate all different events. It has all the big holidays, plus it’s got things like, a dinner to celebrate when you get a promotion, or graduation. It’s great fun and I think I am going to use it for Easter.

This next one is from a Nigella Lawson book called Feast. Anyone who has been reading knows how I feel about Nigella. I turn to her often.

Pumpkin seed brittle
250g caster sugar
125ml water
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
125g green pumpkin seeds

Cover a baking sheet with baking paper, or foil that has been oiled
Dissolve the sugar and cream of tartar in the water over a low heat. Turn the heat up and bring the mixture to a boil without stirring. Boil over a fairly high heat about 10 minutes until it turns a deep golden amber color. Quickly tip the seeds in and swirl the pan so that they are all coated. Take it off the heat and pour immediately onto the baking sheet, smoothing it out if necessary, but do it fast before it starts to harden.
Let it cool completely before breaking it up into chunks.

Both of these, SO GOOD. I prefer the peanut, but then they are salted and I am a sucker for the salty/sweet thing.

It was cool to make too because it was just clear and boiling and boiling and boiling, then all of a sudden, there was this one little yellow spot in the corner, then it spread really fast until it was suddenly done.

This was fun and the result is tasty so Happy Chaitra!

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