Is everyone ‘over the hills and through the woods’ on their way to Grandma’s yet? At the moment, The Professor and I are in the air on our way to Arizona to visit family for the holidays; I’m rocking out to Michael McDonald bringing it home with ‘Children Go Where I Send Thee’ and there are two puppies under each of our seats traveling with their owners seated behind us. It’s a full plane with other grandparents, tired moms and dads, even more tired littles – but everyone traveling anticipates the arrival of Santa and of being with people they love for the holidays.
Peanut brittle was one of my dad’s favorite Christmas treats; I remember my mother making big sheet pans nearly every Christmas in the Little House on Ankeny Street. It’s been 14 Christmases without my dad and I miss him, we all do. So in homage to my dad, I share this recipe for a honeyed peanut brittle.
Crunchy, peanutty, caramel, boil and foam together, Spanish peanuts are added at the very last moment before being poured out onto prepared pans, spreading to the edges and then . . . then you wait. Once cooled, the pan full of golden, amber candy is rapped on the counter and breaks into pieces.
Even though I am grown, the sugary, buttery smell transports me back to that little house with the galley kitchen, a black labrador dog, my brother and sisters, pine scent from the real, decorated tree and Christmas.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings – however you celebrate and even if you don’t, we wish you a good, good life in this coming year!
HONEY BRITTLE WITH PEANUTS
Makes 1 large sheet pan
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup honey
- ½ cup water
- 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 12-ounces spanish peanuts
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Generously butter a large baking sheet.
- Combine the sugar, honey, water, and salt in a 8-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar
- Insert a candy thermometer in the pan, add the butter, and bring back to a boil, then cook until the mixture reaches 300 degrees F
- Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the peanuts and then the baking soda, working quickly but combining them thoroughly
- Pour the mixture out onto the oiled baking sheet, spreading it into a 1/4-inch-thick layer
- Allow to cool completely; rap pan on the counter to break into pieces