Holiday Traditions – Recipes

I just knew someone would ask for the recipes. But when I was typing up today’s earlier post – I took the easy/lazy way out and didn’t put them on. Now I have the recipes here at the computer so here they are:

Peanut Brittle
from Better Homes and Garden’s Cookies and Candies
modified by me after many years of making and ruining many batches

2 c sugar
1 c light corn syrup
1/2 c water
1 c butter
2 c raw peanuts
1 t baking soda

Be sure to check your candy thermometer by testing it in boiling water = 212 degrees. If you don’t have a candy thermometer do not attempt to make this – it just won’t work.

Combine sugar, syrup and water in a 3-quart saucepan. Cook and stir until sugar dissolves. When syrup boils, add the butter. Add the nuts when the temp reaches 280 degrees. Cook (stirring like crazy) until it reaches 305 degrees. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the soda and then pour onto 2-3 cookie sheets. I use 1 or 2 foil oven liners. I try to spread out the brittle but I do not pull it out or stretch it after it cools. Do not use margarine for this and do not use salted peanuts. The nuts need to be raw, because otherwise it burns.

Spiced Walnuts
from Better Homes and Garden’s Cookies and Candies
modified by me after many years of making and ruining many batches
makes 1 lb of candy
2 1/2 – 3 cups walnut halves (or pieces, halves look more fancy, but face it folks – pieces are just as delicious)
1 c sugar
1/2 c water
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t vanilla

Heat walnuts on a cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 5 minutes. Take them out and let cool slightly while making the rest. Butter the sides of a 2-quart saucepan. Combine in it sugar, water, cinnamon and salt. Cook and stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture boils. Cook without stirring to soft-ball stage, 236 degrees. Remove from heat. Beat the mixture by hand for 1 minute or until mixture just begins to get creamy and thickens. Add the vanilla and the nuts. Beat until creamy. Pour out onto a butter cookie sheet.

See notes on testing the thermometer in the Peanut Brittle recipe above. Other tips: After I mix the nuts in, sometimes I bring the mixture back to the stove and stir it on very low heat until the mixture turns a bit — it starts to look creamy vs. glossy. 3 cups walnuts works better because it is less gooey. Baking the nuts first is very important. These nuts turn out really sweet and melt-in-your-mouth wonderful. Also – think about getting good quality cinnamon and vanilla for these. Penzys is a great place to shop.

Enjoy!

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3 thoughts on “Holiday Traditions – Recipes

  1. Must try those recipes! Here’s another one for you to make for someone who loves life a bit spicy!

    BUTTERY CAYENNE-CASHEW CRUNCH

    2 cups whole salted cashews
    10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
    1 tablespoon light corn syrup
    1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    Butter nonstick baking sheet. Combine all ingredients in large nonstick skillet. Stir over low heat until butter melts and sugars dissolve. Increase heat to medium and boil, stirring constantly until mixture turns golden brown, thickens and begins to mass together, about 5 minutes. Immediately pour out onto prepared baking sheet, spreading evenly. Cool completely. Break into pieces.

    Let me know what you think. I know the cashews are expensive. I might try this with peanuts instead to make a cheaper alternative.

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