It's bizarre for me to do things 'holiday' before December even begins. But I figured with the whole "Christmas Classic Pumpkin Pie" deal I pulled earlier this week, I'm already standing with both feet in the water. Heck, I even drew snowmen, Santa, and Christmas trees on our sidewalk yesterday with the Manchild. I must be coming down with something.
This is where I come clean:
I am a total scrooge about Christmas things before Thanksgiving, but have come a long way in allowing Christmas-like things to happen before the actual start of December. I wasn't always this way; as a wee little Goldilocks, I loved Christmas all the time. But as soon as I hit college, I loathed the idea of December. It was then when Christmas-time and I broke up.
You see, in my mind December = Finals. and Juries. and the destruction of any nerve I had to spare at the end of the semester.
The closer Christmas came, the nearer these nighmare-inducing ulcers drew closer to my front door. So when I saw the beautiful Harris Fine Arts Building (my mothership at the time) decked out like Hogwarts at Christmas before Thanksgiving break, I grew perma-angry eyebrows, and started hating everything - including the 'most wonderful time of the year.' Issues, right?
Now that I've graduated, Christmas-time and I are becoming friends again. Okay, we're more than friends. We're practically dating now (even though I can't get over some of the horrible classics on on it's playlist). Christmas-time also bakes up a storm in the kitchen with me. I still haven't let it move in, though. I refuse to bring the tree up from the basement and decorate until December officially starts. It's not that I'm not excited, I'm just paying my final respects to November. Plus I'm deathly afraid of the giant tarantula nests that have most likely caked over my Christmas boxes in the basement.
This one was my first attempt at peanut brittle. It was much easier than I thought it would be, but took much longer than I thought it would. The setting part didn't take any time at all, but I felt like I was standing in my kitchen for an eternity watching my candy thermometer hit the magic degree of 275. Nonetheless, the brittle was delicious. It wasn't the break-your-teeth-out crunchy, and had such a rich, buttery flavor. Peanuts are always a win, but I could easily see this made with any nut you throw at it.
Holiday Peanut Brittle
2 C sugar
1 C light corn syrup
1/2 C water
1/4 C butter
2 1/2 C raw peanuts
1 1/2 t baking soda
1. Butter 2 large baking sheets; set aside. Butter sides of a heavy 3-quart saucepan.
2. In pan, combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and butter. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils. Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Reduce heat to medium-low; continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, stirring occasionally, until the thermometer registers 275 degrees F, soft-crack stage (takes about 30 minutes, really). Don't touch the mixture, you will burn your face off.
3. Stir in nuts; continue cooking over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until thermometer registars 295 degrees F, hard crack stage (15-20 minutes more). Again, no touch-ey.
4. Remove pan fro heat; remove thermometer. Quickly sprinkle baking soda over mixture, stirring constantly. Immediately pour onto prepared baking sheets. Use 2 forks (because the mixture is piping hot) to life and pull candy as it cools. Sprinkle with holiday sprinkles right away. Cool completely.
5. Break into pieces. Store tightly covered up to 1 month.
Recipe Source: better homes & gardens
makes 72 servings, 2 1/4 lbs total