Thursday, October 7, 2010

I Want Candy!

Can you hear that song now? If not - here you go: "I Want Candy"

However, that wasn't exactly what I was referring to. I'm talking about the sweet, crunchy sort of candy. Specifically, Toffee and Peanut Brittle. For as much as I love these two candies, I've never made them. I figured today was as good a day as any. It's cloudy, it's been cloudy and rainy all week. LD has today and tomorrow off from school.

I started out with the Toffee. I used this recipe Toffee Time from PW's Tasty Kitchen blog. You can get the recipe here. The only things I did differently from the recipe was to use pecans instead of the walnuts or almonds it called for and I used a candy thermometer to get it to the hard crack stage - which is at 300 degrees.

There are three pieces of advice I can give you:
1. When you add the water, do it VERY carefully - more than just a little bit at a time will cause it to splatter like crazy - and it's extremely hot when it lands on your skin.
2. It would be VERY helpful to have a second person when it comes time to pour the toffee from the pan into the cooling pan (which I lined with foil).  The pan is beyond hot when the toffee reaches 300 degrees and it's very difficult to get it all out without accidentally bumping the edge of the pan while you're at it. So, be careful and get a friend to help if you can.
3. Clean up - if you've never made Toffee before, you'll immediately think your pan is ruined. The Toffee is rock hard in minutes. However, don't fret. Just let it soak in the sink filled with water for 20 minutes and it should all come out - it'll actually dissolve rather than dislodge from the pan.

The second recipe I picked was also from Tasty Kitchen: Grandma McDonald's Peanut Brittle, and the recipe for it can be found here.

I can't decide which I like more - Toffee or Peanut Brittle. That's why I decided to make both. Having now made both, I think that they're about equally difficult - and they really weren't THAT difficult.

Tips for the Peanut Brittle? Oh yes!
1. Whatever you do, make certain you have the rimmed cookie sheet ready to go - that means before you do anything, line it with foil and then coat it with butter. You don't HAVE to use foil, but it certainly makes the clean up easier.
2. Have all the ingredients measured out ahead of time - because you have to keep stirring it the whole time.
3. Clean up is the same as for the Toffee, so by now you're an expert!

Had I known how easy these were to make, I would have made them sooner!

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