.........for me to lose my mind and decide to bake for friends and family. After a week of feverish slaving in the kitchen, it looks like Willy Wonka's candy factory blew up in my house. Each nite before bed, my husband and I peel off socks covered in caramel, peppermint and peanut brittle bits. And today I am free! We mailed the last 4 boxes of goodies to family and I am at last at peace.
I really don't know what drives me to such heights of foolishness. But, I guess until I come to my senses, family & friends are able to enjoy the home baked insanity that comes out of my kitchen.
I simplified my packaging this year with assorted ribbon from Michael's, shipping tags bought from Office Depot (hand stamped and written upon) and cellophane bags to contain the goodies. The cello bags were inspired by Ina Garten who used them during a holiday baking episode of Barefoot Contessa. I ordered them from Cello bags- http://cellobags.com/. Cheap, sturdy and convenient, they also provide a modest portion size. And to top it off, they are also an attractive vehicle through which to showcase your goodies. When thinking about the mass quantities of treats everyone would consume throughout the holiday season and how I'm trying to watch my own waistline in anticipation of a trip in March-- the cello bags were the perfect solution so that everyone could have a taste of each, but the chances of overindulging would be next to none.
Here's one of my standby, favorite Christmastime recipes-- Peanut Brittle, courtesy of Gale Gand.
Cinnamon Peanut Brittle
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand
1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups roasted salted peanuts
1 teaspoon baking soda
Combine the water, sugar, cream of tartar and corn syrup in a medium-size heavy saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer. Bring to a boil over medium heat. After it boils, stir the mixture occasionally. Boil the mixture until it reaches 340 degrees F. The color should be deep golden brown. Remove from the heat and, working quickly, stir in the cinnamon with a wooden spoon. Stir in the butter until melted, then the peanuts and baking soda.
Pour the mixture onto the oiled cookie sheet with sides and spread it out a bit with the back of a wooden spoon, to about 1/4-inch thickness (it may not fill the whole pan). Let harden, uncovered, in a cool place, 30 to 45 minutes. (To wash the saucepan, soak it overnight.)
Using your hands, and wearing cotton or plastic gloves if desired to keep off any fingerprints, break the brittle into pieces. Store in an airtight container.