Thursday 20 December 2012

Just in Time for Christmas...

Christmas is only five sleeps away! Or if you're on track with your Advent calendar, it's only five chocolates away! If you're looking for a last-minute gift for someone special, there's really nothing better than a beautifully wrapped package of handmade treats. This is the perfect gift idea for a neighbor, a co-worker, or your favorite barista!

We got together a few weeks ago and made an absolutely amazing Christmas treat - holiday brittle! This is not your average peanut brittle. It's flavored with cardamom, which is the same spice used in chai tea. In other words, the taste reminds you of cozy, warm holiday deliciousness. And instead of peanuts, we used pepitas which are hulled pumpkin seeds (and it's just a really fun word to say). This brittle is super yum, and we promise it will be a huge hit with your gift recipients!

We used this recipe, and have no fear - we found the whole process very simple.

Ingredients needed:
2 cups of sugar
4 oz. of unsalted butter
1/3 cup of light corn syrup
1 cup + 2 tablespoons water
Have the following items ready and close by:
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
2 teaspoons of coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon of ground cardamom
1 1/2 cups of raw, unroasted pepitas (we got these from the Hamilton Farmers Market)
(mix these last two ingredients together)

Have two baking sheets ready, lined with silicon mats. Just mix the sugar, butter, corn syrup, and water over medium-heat until it thickens and becomes "medium-golden-amber". Now, I'd say the trickiest part of this recipe is knowing what "medium-golden-amber" is, but go with your gut. The recipe said it takes 10-15 minutes, but I'd say it took more like 25 minutes before we could confidently say it was the right color.

Take a swig of your warm apple cider - this is the part where things get real. Remove from heat, then immediately stir in baking soda, followed by sea salt (beware of crazy bubbles!), followed by the cardamom/pepita mixture. Quickly pour the mixture on your baking sheets, and try to spread it evenly. Hurry hurry, as it will start to harden immediately! As you can see, we had all hands on deck for this part...

Do some crafts while you let it cool - it takes about 45 minutes to an hour to fully cool. Then go ahead and break it up into pieces! You can store for two weeks in an airtight container, and its very helpful to use parchment paper between the pieces to keep them from sticking. And don't forget about the pretty packaging!

Oh, last thing - Kate really loves cats, and apparently, while we were making brittle, I really liked taking pictures of Kate with cats. I contemplated writing a post specifically about Kate and her love of cats, but I thought I'd spare you...

Merry Christmas, friends!

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