Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sweet & Salty Peanut Praline: 15 minute Fix!

Sometimes it strikes.

All of the sudden. Out of nowhere. Alleluhia. Holy jeez!

I need something sweet. BOOM.

Just like that. And it's strong. It creeps up and hangs on. I try to ignore it. I write an email, call a friend, organize my moisturizers, superglue my broken sunglasses together or clean my makeup brushes. ANYTHING to try to occupy my crazy sugar-hungry brain.

Nothing works. All it does is put it off, but it's inevitable. 

And by that time it is urgent and I don't have time to pull out my mixer, bring butter to room temperature or wait for the oven to preheat.

And...by that time my sweet craving has changed to a salty sweet thing... So... yeah...

I have 15 minutes before I totally lose my mind. So...I make this.

Caramel is amazing.

It's pure white sugar turned into something totally complex, rich and it sends you to flavourtown. With the simple application of heat and a bit of moisture, you can send your regular old table sugar into brown flavour heaven.

It's easy to screw up caramel, but it is also easy to save it.

If you notice that it is turning grainy when it reaches the pale yellow/brown stage but not yet at the dark amber stage...then crank up the heat to break down or melt the sugar. At this point the reaction will proceed quickly so keep a close eye on it and don't text, answer your phone, write an email or play with an igame or whatever the heck is happening with phones right now.

I don't know because I still don't have a smart phone.

But, I have crunchy sweet & salty peanut brittle. I'm OK with this.

Sweet & Salty Peanut Praline
Makes enough for one craving

50 g (¼ cup) granulated sugar
15 ml (1 tbsp) water
35 g/1.25 oz (about ¼ cup) unsalted peanuts, paper skins removed
1/8 tsp coarse sea salt

Spread sugar in a single layer in a small 1-quart stainless steel saucepan over medium heat. Drizzle water around the edges of the sugar and cook without stirring until it begins to bubble and turn a golden colour, about 5 minutes. Begin swirling pan periodically for even colouring. Continue to cook until sugar liquefies and turns golden amber. The large bubbles will subside and a golden foam will form at the surface when the caramel is nearly ready.

Remove from heat, stir in peanuts to coat evenly and immediately pour onto prepared baking sheet. Flatten with a silicone spatula and sprinkle sea salt over top while it is still hot. Let cool at room temperature until hardened and then break into small pieces. 

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