Saturday, December 15, 2007

It's Candy Making Time

My husband's favorite treat is peanut brittle, and I really hate paying the high prices to buy it already-made. This recipe is so easy! You make it in a microwave! I've made it dozens of times, and only once did I cook it too long, and that was when I bought a new microwave that was higher wattage than the previous one. Once I made the adjustment in time, I was back to perfect peanut brittle. I got the recipe from a woman I used to know about 25 years ago, so it's named after her.

Delilah's Peanut Brittle
Make this in a microwave!
Times are for a 1200-watt microwave. Add 1 minute to each segment for 800-watt ovens.

1/3 cup white corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup dry-roasted peanuts
1 teaspoon butter
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda

Spray a baking sheet with butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray (or use regular butter). In a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup, combine corn syrup and sugar. Microwave on HIGH 3 minutes. Add peanuts and microwave on HIGH 2 minutes. Add butter and vanilla, and microwave on HIGH 1 minute. Stir in baking soda, and quickly pour out on greased baking sheet. Spread it out if it looks thick. (It'll look like you ruined it at first, but it regains its rounded shape as it cools.) Once it's hard, after about 5 minutes, break into small pieces.

Since we need to make a thank-you/Christmas gift for our neighbor Carol (for watching our newspapers and house when we go camping), I thought I'd make her some chocolate bark. I received some of this last year in a foodie exchange, and it's now a favorite that I'll make every holiday season. It's very easy to make, and you can get the cherries, pistachios, and milk chocolate chips at Trader Joe's.

Cherry-Pistachio Bark
This recipe makes a lot, so it can be easily halved.

3 8-oz bars semi-sweet/bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli's)
1 12-oz. bag milk chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 8-oz. bag dried Montmorency cherries
1 cup chopped pistachio meats, divided
In a bowl over simmering water, melt chocolates together with vanilla. Add cherries and 2/3 cup of the pistachios. Spread mixture on waxed paper, using an offset spatula to make it of uniform thickness. Sprinkle with remaining pistachios. Place in refrigerator or freezer till it hardens (takes only about 10 minutes). Break into small pieces.

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