Musings and photos of my attempts to create edible food.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

New Houses, Autumn and Peanut Brittle

A lot of changes have happened since my last post. Since my birthday we have gone house hunting, bought one, moved in, done a whole load of d.i.y. and now are starting to settle. Autumn seems to have crept up on me and it is already showing signs of being over! Autumn is the time for lighting fires (our new house has a wood burning stove in the lounge!),  apples and burnt sugar. This week I have enjoyed all these things.
ApplesI have wanted to plant apple trees the moment we had our own house but deciding what varieties will be a challenge. Today was Chepstow's "Apple Day" so the wife and I went down to try the varieties on sale. It is very satisfying to now be sat looking at 4 different types of apple sat on our work surface awaiting further contemplation! Some culinary work will be needed to assess each apple. It may be a difficult week in the Hickson household - apple based puddings all week! All this in the hope that in a few years time we may be able to pick apples in the garden that we like. You can't get fewer food miles than that and hopefully they will be local varieties too.
I thought I would share this weeks burnt sugar recipe with you. By burnt sugar I mean caramelised sugar - if its actually burnt that is probably a step too far! My choice of burnt sugar recipe was inspired from a few hours in Stratford-upon-Avon. Whilst wandering the town we went past a sweet shop with great piles of peanut brittle in the window. Having spent our pennies (and most of our weeks calorie allowance) in Hobsons patisserie I decided to save peanut brittle for some home experimentation. A few batches later and a recipe has emerged. It turns out peanut brittle is rather easy to make so this will be a quick recipe!

Peanut Brittle

  • 300g Sugar
  • 60ml Water
  • 200g Salted Peanuts
Grease a tray to set the brittle in.
Dissolve the sugar in the water over a gentle heat and once it is all dissolved turn the heat up and boil until a medium colour caramel is achieved. This should be about 160 degrees Celsius if you like temperatures but the colour is a better guide.
Remove from the heat and stir in the peanuts, quickly turning it out into the greased tray (adding cold peanuts makes this mixture go very stiff).
Once the mix has cooled, turn it out onto a chopping board and smack it with something hard to break it up. A rolling pin is my preferred weapon.


  1. Is this blasphemy? Joe, the lover of all things cooked with a thermometer, is suggesting you look at the colour instead?!

  2. Loving the attempt to summarise nearly 8 months of neglect on this blog!

    I made peanut brittle a few months ago (as a happy "you are no longer breastfeeding and can now eat peanuts" gift for my friend) and was amazed how easy it was. For my confectionary cooking now I have a new toy - a thermospatula! I love it - stirring and taking the temperature at the same time!

    1. A thermospatula? That sounds like a toy for my Christmas wish list!

    2. Although it now strikes me how bad an idea that would be for caramel / fudge / toffee... don't stir, its a trap!

    3. I always stir fudge. And I've never had a fudge disaster - always seem to work out fine for me. (And the recipes I have tell me to stir!)