Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter candy: Not all Nerds

Although a lot of it is given that they're one of Sophie's favorite candies and I admit mine too. Have you ever had a Nerd Rope? They're just insane. Some of our candy is See's, which is a California tradition. I was amazed when I moved to the east for a while to realize the entire country does not have those black and white shops with chubby ladies who give you a free sample every time you buy anything.

I also made some pine nut brittle. I started out wanting something to garnish the white chocolate-rose geranium ice cream I made to take to my book group the other night. I always add a fresh sprig of rose geranium but wanted a little something else. Brittle sounded like a good idea, but I was out of peanuts or (my favorites) shelled pistachios.

But I had a big batch of pine nuts roasting on the stove for a batch of pesto I was making. There's something delicate and soft about pine nuts, and it turns out they made a lovely brittle.

It's important to cook the syrup mixture to 300 degrees. It takes a while, and the only way I know it figure out whether you're there yet is to use a candy thermometer.

A Silpat mat is perfect for this, but any buttered surface will do.


1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup toasted nuts—peanut, pistachio, or pine nut

Lightly butter a large baking sheet.

In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt. Bring to a full boil. Cover and boil for two to three minutes. Uncover and without stirring, start testing for temperature.

When temperature reaches 300 degrees, remove from heat and add baking soda, vanilla, and nuts. Mixture will bubble and foam.

Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet and spread in a thin layer with a buttered spatula or knife. Let cool for five minutes and then break into small pieces. Store in an airtight container for one week or in the refrigerator for one month.


carolyn said...

temperature seems about right but the color a bit pale... maybe try golden brown sugar next time or 315˚. hmmm. either way I'll be it tasted good on your ice cream.

Jenn said...

Sees lover in Michigan here! *waving hand wildly* When my grandfather was alive it was his signature gift. Everyone who received a gift from Gramps could count on a yummy box of Sees for Christmas. I always ate the chocolate covered almond (really any nut) clusters from the box first ;)

Tonia said...

Thank goodness we have a See's in town! When I was a chubby kid, I thought there could be no better job than being a chubby See's candy cashier! I ended up dating a guy whose mother had been one of those ladies. She was thin and hated chocolates! The brittle looks tasty.

Angelina said...

Normally I don't go in for pine nuts in sweets but I admit I'm intrigued.

But peanut brittle will always be my favorite brittle.

I'm scared to make it because I might fail at it and also I'm scared because then I'll eat it all.

Laura [What I Like] said...

What a fabulous idea! I adore that would be nice with a little hint of thyme or rosemary...

Cindy said...

carolyn: Onthe batch after this I used agave syrup instead of light corn syrup, which I was out of. And I did go a bit past 300. Just as you said, the color was a bit darker, more golden. And it was a better texture--didn't stick to my molars as much.

But I like the idea of trying with brown sugar and also Laura's idea of adding a little rosemary or thyme. That would be great mixed into homemade vanilla ice cream.

The Mrs. said...

have to try it!