Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Santa's Kitchen: Playing with Hot Sugar

On Saturday, Phineas and I got candy making underway with 2 sweet treats - peanut brittle and caramels.
Boiling sugar, soon to be peanut brittle

Boiling sugar is not as easy as boiling water. For one thing water doesn't burn. And it also doesn't form crystals. Last year, I really struggled with making peanut brittle until I turned to Mark Bittman, one of my favorite food writers, for his guidance on this tricky treat. This year I really hit my stride with getting the sugar boiled but not burnt.

Add the nuts and toss to coat.

Spread on a greased pan and when it is cool, crack into pieces.

In addition to the brittle, Phineas has been wanting to make home made caramels for ages. So, this was our second project, and again we turned to Mark Bittman. It was easier than the brittle, and the results are wonderful. Homemade caramels have a lovely texture - softer than store bought - and a rich, buttery vanilla flavor. We sprinkled a good amount of sea salt on the caramels to really enhance the sweetness. It's a lovely contrast. MMmmmm.

Sugar, butter, cream
When it gets to the "softball" stage (245 deg) pour into a greased pan

Once cool, pop in the fridge to firm up and then cut.

The only pesty thing about the whole process was wrapping the candies, which we did in front of the tv. But I think it was worth it just to see a bowl of shiny candy wrappers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Okay, where is your recipe for carmels? I love them! I want to make and eat them - ALL!

Mar - Mar