Popcorn Peanut Brittle with Chocolate Chips

I got hungry.  This happened.  Tasty too!

Actually this had been in the back of my mind.  Something similar to any one of dozens of commercial Popcorn Peanut Toffee candies.

And boy is it good.  Just be careful, it’s not exactly a light dessert.

I followed my own recipe for Peanut Brittle, then poured it over some pre-popped popcorn.  But in case you want a recipe, here goes.

Popcorn:

  • Get a cookie sheet and line with Parchment Paper or Foil.
  • Lightly grease it.  (Optional).
  • Pop one bag of microwave popcorn or loose popcorn to cover the cookie sheet one layer deep.
  • Put the popcorn on to your cookie sheet.
  • Add two ounces of chocolate chips to the top of the popcorn, evenly.

Next:  Make Brittle.

Full recipe is at this link, but I will repeat it here after the process for this step.

4 ounces of cleaned and skinless nuts.  I used unsalted peanuts.

2 ounces/4 tablespoons of butter at room temperature and sliced into thin pieces.

1 cup of sugar.

2 ounces of water.

 

  • To a cold 2 quart saucepan, add the sugar and water.
  • Stir the ingredients to mix.
  • Turn on heat Medium High to High.
  • Boil until the mix turns “toffee colored”
  • Add the nuts, stir, and count to ten.
  • Add butter.  The butter will boil immediately.  Stir
  • Remove from heat and pour over the popcorn mix.

Serve:  Allow to cool fully, break into Bite Sized Pieces.

Oh! and all of it is 1400 calories plus your popcorn calories.

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How Much Chocolate is Too Much

When someone near to me came home from London, he brought me something that I appreciated very much.

I just did not know how much?

I mean… this is apparently a “Thing” in Britain.

By which I mean “Supersized” chocolate bars.

I am laughing at the display on my room organizer right now.  This is … ridiculous.

But it is a “thing” there, and the reality is that there is the concept of a reasonable amount of any given food to eat.

Really, this is huge!  The sheer size of it has me laughing.

Way up at the top of the picture is a “standard” single serving Hershey’s Chocolate bar.  It’s not my favorite chocolate by a long shot, but here in the land of Big Food and Cheap Food, it’s what we think of as a single serving.

Granted, it is 220 calories which is a bit large for some of my more petite friends to have in one sitting.  I have a friend who is 1/2 my size and weight, and that 1.55 ounce, or 43 gram serving is what should be about all she should have of candy or dessert all day.

My being twice that size I’m maintaining weight with twice that amount per day.  I lose a pound all week, gain it back on the weekend, and I have since High School.  It’s in balance.  My doctor had no complaints about my weight or my fitness level at all.

Rule of thumb is calories are to be balanced from 30% Fat, 30% Carb, 40% Protein.

Training Diets are 1 gram protein per pound of weight.  Lower Fat and Carbs as needed.  Good luck with that.

Nutrition guidelines aside… that little bar is a “single serving”.

Now, since what we get here in Los Estados Unidos with the name Cadbury doesn’t taste right to me, I have a standing order with anyone going to England to bring back Cadbury Chocolates.

It used to be that Cadbury was made by Hershey by license.  It also does not taste right to me, nor the same.

 

Close, but not quite.  Kit Kats are the same too for me.  I could be wrong.

 

Could be the water, or that the chocolate is different.  I don’t know.  When I have a Cadbury branded chocolate here I don’t think it tastes “right” to me.  My opinion.  I’d just rather get Cadbury imported from Old Blighty than walk down the block to the rather excellent candy store and get a bar there.

Maybe I should.  Just not today.

 

That and my licorice allsorts.  Bassetts.  They’re stale if I get them locally, but amazing if bought at the airport at Gatwick just before you leave.

 

Please Exit the UK via the Gift Shop.  Don’t forget your Licorice and your ridiculously large chocolate bars!

So I am getting enough from other sources.

Then there’s that bar of Cadbury Fruit and Nut in the middle.   It is 300 grams.  10.58 ounces.

And don’t get me on Your Country Should Go Metric.  We did, it’s just we have a translation layer there so it makes things easier for us.  All our units of measurements are defined as a multiple of Grams or Liters or what have you.

 

Maybe you shouldn’t have a license plate for a candy bar.

Anyway, at 495 calories per 100 grams, the whole bar is 1485 calories.  At 212 calories per serving it serves 7.

Seven.  And that is the middle sized bar.

When I first saw that bar I thought it was insanely sized.  Why?  Because I know people who would attempt to eat the whole thing in one sitting.

Don’t do that.  Nearly a day’s budget of calories for a tall woman in one bar of chocolate is insane.  Just Don’t Do it.

Well, at least that’s the math if I can read the British Nutrition Label.   They suggest a more reasonable serving size of a little more than an ounce.

While people in Britain are smaller than in some parts of the US – Buddy, you folks are catching up.

But that fruit and nut bar that I truly enjoyed massively was a shock when I saw it.  Ok, “Gift Sized” was what I called it.

What about that plank of Dairy Milk in the box.  On the bottom of the picture.

Come on Cadbury, you’re kidding me!  800 Grams?

Yes, I know, Portion Control.  I’ve been doing portion control for so long that I can estimate calories in my head – and do.

800 Grams.  28.22 Ounces.

When I saw it I asked “What the hell is that thing, is it really chocolate?”

Yep!  I am laughing at the massive bounty of chocolate that that is.

Real good chocolate too.  The way a Cadbury Chocolate Bar should taste.

And yes, I will enjoy it, completely.  Every last gram.  But I will “Do The Math”.

For 100 grams, it is 530 calories.

For the whole bar that is an amazing 4240 Calories.

Serving size according to Cadbury is a measly 25 grams or 132 calories.

So a giant 800 gram bar serves 32?

I’m laughing at that.

No wonder why the NHS is moving to disallow hospitals to sell these on premises.  I would say that the heft and size of the thing, it could be used as a weapon.

So I guess the whole supersizing thing that we went through here, they did in Britain, differently.

Good luck folks, I’m still laughing at the bar being so bloody large!

At least I have until December 2018 to finish all this stuff!

I’ll go with a roughly 200 calorie serving and enjoy each bit.  By the time I finish all this stuff, this “table leveler” block of chocolate, someone else will be going back to England and coming back with a ludicrously large bar of chocolate again.

It will be appreciated.

 

Six Chunks at a time.  I just want to watch the world burn and have a wee bit more.

Peanut Brittle Recipe – One of the easiest I have found

 

Peanut Brittle.  It’s basically a butter toffee that peanuts or some other nut is poured into and allowed to cool.  The nuts are cooked and come out slightly softer.

I usually make this with Pecans since we can get them cheap, and they have a stronger flavor.

Most recipes have a couple of steps.  This one only has two.

This recipe does not use baking soda for leavening.  When you add the ROOM TEMPERATURE butter to the candy, it will almost instantly boil creating bubbles that will add volume and make it easier to eat.

If you prefer a thinner candy, wait a few seconds, and the bubbles will die down.

This also works if you switch the nuts out for about an ounce (28 Grams) of lightly chopped roasted coffee beans.  If you use Espresso Grind coffee, you end up with a smoother texture.

I will say that the taste with Espresso is very reminiscent of a specific Japanese candy that I can very rarely find.  They look like a toffee but are very dark brown and taste like a sweet coffee or a Cuban coffee.  Hard to find here in South Florida, so when I discovered this, it was a special treat.

It’s all up to you.

As for calories?  It’s candy for crying out loud:

1 Cup Sugar = 774 Calories

4 ounces unsalted roasted peanuts =  426 Calories

1 ounce Butter = 200 Calories

Total = 1400 calories.

Yes, that is the full recipe calorie count.  If you sit down and eat the entire recipe you should reconsider your diet choices.  I’d say about 1 1/2 ounce is a good (approximately) 200 calorie serving size.  Leaving it out on the counter like I do is a mistake since it means I’m grazing on the stuff all day.

On the other hand since there is no baking soda in it… well you don’t have that gassy problem do you?

This also makes a “reasonable” amount to make in a wet climate.  There isn’t so much that you will have to worry about it getting sticky from the humidity or it simply lingering because you got bored.

It threw together in about 10 minutes – so it’s a dangerous recipe, if you enjoy the stuff!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Ounces Water
  • 4 Ounces Unsalted Peanuts, Pecans, Walnuts, Macadamia Nuts, or any combination you prefer
  • 2 Tablespoons ROOM TEMPERATURE butter
  • Salt to taste – or not, I do not

Process:

  1. Prepare a cookie sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  2. Grease lightly cookie sheet with oil.
  3. Chunk the butter into small pieces and set aside.
  4. Lightly Chop the nuts – Or not, your preference.
  5. Add to a 2 quart/Liter sauce pan the water and sugar.
  6. Mix the sugar and water until well dissolved.
  7. Place the sugar water mix on medium high heat until boiling.
  8. Stir the sugar water while on the heat.
  9. Continue to boil the sugar water until it reaches a proper tan/caramel/toffee color.
  10. Add the butter and nuts at the same time and remove from heat while stirring.
  11. The mixture will foam as the water in the butter boils off.
  12. Pour onto a cookie sheet lined with Parchment Paper or Aluminum Foil.
  13. Allow to cool to room temperature and break into bite sized bits.

James Candy Barrel Bank

Oh hi, Pat!  Haven’t heard from you in a while, how are you?

Yep, Kevin got back fine, no problem.  He took the Auto Train and slept in a tiny room that was 4 by 8 feet.  My closet is longer and a little bit wider in the big bedroom.

It was a lot better trip than we had when you and I were kids trying to sleep in one of those silly airplane style semi-reclining seats. 

Right, well he went up to visit his mom for her birthday and spend some time with her.  Longwood Gardens, a couple nice restaurants, and made it all the way to Cape May just like the song.

He sure did bring back that Salt Water Taffy!  In fact he brought back a barrel bank just like we had every year when Dad would take us down to Atlantic City for the day before the Casinos moved in and wrecked the boardwalk.  That’s why when I went for a day trip, I’d go to Ocean City, NJ.  Yes, the Methodists have kept it fairly old school and you can still get a good funnel cake or fresh peanuts – or at least you could back in 2005 when I was there last.

That bank?   I’m going to keep mine!  It turns out that James Candy and Fralingers are the same company although I think we knew that.  They’re discontinuing the banks so if you want a little piece of our childhood, you had better get Down-a-Shore and pretend to be a Shoobie for a day.  Pick one up and enjoy, they’re not expensive, after all they’re made out of Papier Mache

Sure, you know the salt water taffy at the Jersey Shore blows away any other kind!  The stuff just over on the other side of the Delaware River in Rehoboth or in Ocean City MD just doesn’t taste right and they don’t make it soft like James Candy does.  I had some in Cape Cod Mass that was just horrible, like old tub caulk!

No I’m not in the habit of chewing that stuff, silly!

But the neatest thing is that they’re still making those weird old flavors like they used to!  Anise, Molasses, Teaberry… yeah!  I mean where else but the Jersey Shore!  Just like old times walking down the Boardwalk and biting into one of those wonderful Lemon Salt Water Taffys and you had to be careful because you would have sand on your fingers.

Yes, Atlantic City is the real Boardwalk, the rest are just imitations but even that has changed since they blew up all those wonderful old resort hotels.  The city itself is a bit scary but the tourist trap, er tourist areas are safe. 

Sure, I had what they call Salt Water Taffy here in Florida.  Hard as a rock and salty as a pretzel.  Scary stuff right?

At least they still make it like they used to at the Jersey Shore.  “Cut to fit the mouth” like they say!

Oh that bank?  Did I tell you some clown running an auction house wanted $50 for a barrel bank and the box with it?  Yeah isn’t that a riot?  You can still get them for now for $12 so move fast.  Oh and have some vanilla custard for me while you’re at it – you know, from the stand at 9th street in Ocean City!  Watch for the Sea Gulls if you’re going to have fries, those birds are fierce!

Crystalline Ginger

Crystalline Ginger?  What on earth are you talking about?

Simply put these are sliced ginger root that are somewhat tenderized and I’m not quite sure how they do that, then encrusted with some sugar.  Ginger Root is a very pungent herb.  If you have ever had some ginger chicken at the local Chinese Restaurant, you know when you bite into a piece.  They’re spicy, even hot to taste. Very strong flavored, and rather woody in texture.  There are also some medicinal qualities to this herb.

Now soak them in sugar and lay them out until they’re ready with a little bit of fluid left in them.   I have found them in my favorite Asian Market down in North Miami Beach, and also they have a ready supply of the stuff in the fruit stand that I got the Honeybells at that are in my refrigerator.  Not the kind of thing I expect to find at a Publix, and Winn Dixie is way too low end for the stuff.  You may find them in a gourmet shop, but mind you the stuff is strong.  A little piece the size of a dime will clear your sinuses.

I have a pound bag of Crystalline Ginger in the kitchen, and some will go to work with me.  Just pop a piece in the mouth and let the sugar melt off, then the Ginger will give you flavor for an hour, or chew it for an intense burst of flavor.   If you like spicy food, I highly recommend the stuff!