Kitchen Wit & Wisdom: Edible Christmas gifts

A few quick recipes for those forgotten on your list, or for last minute visitors

  • Dec. 19, 2017 5:20 p.m.

We’re down to the last few days until Christmas and I thought it might be timely to offer a couple of quick recipes for those forgotten on your list, or for last minute visitors. Both are quick and easy to make. They’re perfect for those last minute hostess gifts, or for a neighbour, postman, hair dresser etc. The first is roasted almonds, but these aren’t your typical roasted almonds and they only take about five minutes to make. Seasoned with chili powder, cinnamon and white and brown sugars, they’re an eyebrow-raising sweet and spicy experience. Dial up the heat with a little cayenne. The second recipe is for peanut brittle, and who doesn’t like peanut brittle? This is a wonderful brittle that is easy to make and wows everyone. Have all the ingredients for this recipe measured out and ready because this recipe requires that you react quickly. You do not have time to measure ingredients in between steps.

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Almonds

1 egg white

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups whole almonds

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit (120 degrees Celsius). Lightly grease a 10×15-inch jelly roll pan. Combine egg white and vanilla in large bowl; beat until frothy. Add almonds and toss to coat. Pour almonds into a mesh strainer to drain excess liquid, five to 10 minutes. Return strained almonds to the bowl. Stir white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, chili powder, and salt together in a bowl. Sprinkle sugar mixture over almonds and toss to coat evenly. Spread coated nuts evenly onto prepared jelly roll pan. Bake, stirring every 20 minutes, until the seasoning clings to the almonds, about 1 hour. Allow to cool completely before storing in an air-tight container. Add a fancy ribbon and you’re all set.

Mom’s Best Peanut Brittle

A reminder to have all the ingredients for this recipe measured out and ready before you start.

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup water

1 cup peanuts

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 teaspoon baking soda

Grease a large cookie sheet. Set aside. In a heavy 2 quart saucepan, over medium heat, bring to a boil sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peanuts. Set candy thermometer in place, and continue cooking. Stir frequently until temperature reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius), or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into hard and brittle threads. Remove from heat; immediately stir in butter and baking soda; pour at once onto cookie sheet. With 2 forks, lift and pull peanut mixture into rectangle about 14×12 inches; cool. Snap candy into pieces. When cool, fill a suitable jar, seal and decorate.

— Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s cooking columnist.

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