Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Fire burn and cauldron bubble

Lots of toiling over the stove this weekend.

Along with the candied pecans and candied what-were-supposed-to-be-pecans-but-in-actuality-were-WALNUTS I made to take home for the holidays, Andy and I decided to risk injury and disaster by boiling sugar for cashew brittle.

After having an all-day bake-a-thon with some girls a couple weeks ago, I was searching for a homemade, sugary gift that wouldn't taste stale after two days. While perusing Orangette, I found a link to a cashew brittle recipe.

I was a little nervous cause I've heard making candy can be quite difficult with a high likelihood of molten lava sugar all over the kitchen (or worse, your hands).

To prepare, Andy stirred the sugar mixture in the largest pot we own, monitoring the temperature with our meat thermometer while I stood with oven mitts and the lid, ready to spring into action if needed.

It was a little hypnotic, staring at the boiling sugar for so long.

Because we were being so careful, I think we kept the heat too low for the first bit of boiling. It took an extra long time to caramelize and turn golden brown (it should take 10 minutes, ours took 20), but went a lot faster when we got more confident and cranked the burner up to high heat (still monitoring closely with the oven mitts, lid and thermometer).

I would have used a few less cashews, personally, but maybe that's because we evaporated a lot of the mixture from cooking the sugar so long.

My nut-loving family definitely won't be complaining though.

I'm a brittle lover, but this. Oh, this is good. Better than any store-bought or other homemade brittle I've ever had. Dangerously good.

With boiled, hardened sugar, I was worried clean-up would be too tough to face and I'd just wind up throwing away everything because of my aversion dishes and cleaning in general.

Using lightly buttered parchment paper and soaking the sugared pot made it so easy! No scrubbing required. This is definitely something that's now on the holiday noms radar.

Cashew Brittle from The Wednesday Chef
Makes 3.5 pounds

4 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 1/4 cups water
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds salted, roasted cashews

1. Line two baking sheets with lightly buttered parchment paper or lightly coat the sheets with cooking spray. Do not use wax paper or plastic wrap.

2. Combine sugar, butter, corn syrup, and water in a large saucepan and stir together. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the caramel turns a medium-golden color, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Carefully whisk in the baking soda and then the salt. The mixture will rise and bubble. Using a wooden or metal spoon, stir in the nuts, then immediately pour the brittle onto the prepared cookie sheets, using the back of the spoon to spread the brittle out. Allow the brittle to cool for a few minutes, then, using the sides of two forks, pull and stretch the edges of the brittle to create a thinner candy, about 3/8-inch thick.

3. Once brittle is completely cool, break it into bite-sized pieces using the back of a knife or your hands. The brittle can be stored at room temperature, in an airtight container, for up to two weeks.

1 comment:

Katie said...

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE bring some to Grandma's house :-D !!!!!