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.
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Bread Dough in Five Minutes In A Plastic Bag

I guess the title says it all, if you’re looking for the short description.

There’s always a back story with me so hold on for the ride.

I wanted a Pizza, but really this can be used to make most basic breads.  I did not want to fuss around with a “full batch” of dough and make a cookie sheet full of rolls and … well you get the picture.

I will say that this will scale up to a larger batch and should be limited by how strong your own hands are.  You see, it’s all about your grip strength.  If you’ve got arthritis or some other limitation, use the machine.

On the other hand, this dough flew together so fast that it’s a great way to make fresh dough for small batches like one pizza dough ball or a couple of rolls.

Basically, I have a “Standard Recipe” for bread.  It’s “Pat’s Pizza Dough” recipe.   It makes 10 sandwich rolls, or about 8 torpedo rolls.  It also will make three pizza dough balls.  The original recipe is at the link – or you can even see my original note written 20 years ago in the picture.

The idea was cut the recipe down to one third of normal, then make it in a bag.

I added to a clean and food safe plastic bag the following ingredients.

  • 3 ounces of water
  • 2 teaspoons of oil
  • 1 cup of bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon of bread yeast
  • 1/3 teaspoon of salt (I used a well rounded 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1/3 teaspoon of sugar (I used a well rounded 1/4 teaspoon)

The process was simple.

 

  • Squeeze most of the air out of the bag and wind the top up to close it.
  • Grip the mix at the bottom of the bag and squeeze it repeatedly.
  • The mix will eventually form a dough ball through repeated kneading.

 

You may have to adjust the water content to fit your needs.  Bread dough is effected by the weather and conditions in your house and kitchen just as you would expect.  Wet climate will make stickier dough, dry climate you may need to add more water.

For Pizza Dough, you need a dough ball that is more dry than tacky or sticky.  Similar to Play-doh or similar modeling clay compound.

For Bread Dough, you need a dough ball that will be a bit tacky and it may want to stick gently to your hands or the side of the bag – but you will be able to remove it from the bag.

Basically that’s about it.  I’ll use this again because it’s saving me a lot of time in preparation and clean up work.

But… it took me just five minutes to get this dough done.  Add to it rolling time and rising time as normal.

Welcome to Tot-Henge

In Manhattan, and many other large cities laid out on a grid, there are two very special days.  This was pointed out by noted “Science Dude” Neil deGrasse Tyson.  This is called “Manhattanhenge“.

What happens on those days is that the sun positions itself so that you can see it on the east-west streets.  It happens in Philadelphia, Toronto, and many other cities, whether it is noticed or not.

The important thing is that your city be laid out in a grid roughly with the compass alignment.

In my case, it has to do with food.

Doesn’t everything?  I mean food is easy to talk about.  We all food.  Yum.

Besides, bloggers like to write about recipes.  I’ll let you in on a secret, it’s so easy that it’s almost lazy.

And you get to talk about Neil deGrasse Tyson.  Because.  Just because.

Anyway, I got hungry.  I have been doing silly things with food for quite a while.  Mixing weird concoctions, putting picture to virtual paper, and writing about that.

Hungry is normal when you have a fast metabolism and are 193 CM tall and just under 100 KG.

That’s 6’4″ and 223 pounds dripping wet in Freedom Units as they say on various forums.

Lets face it, the economy here is big and we’re stubborn.  I cook in Metric but measure calories in Ounces because the math(s) is (are) easier.

There.  Should keep my friends in Her Brittanic Majesty‘s Realm happy.  We all love a happy Queen Elizabeth, long may she reign.

But I got creative.  Frozen food, fast.  I can put together a frozen food meal and toss it in a hot oven for 22 minutes, jump in the shower, shave, dress, and the timer on the thing is just starting to make noise for me to pull it out.

Now, here’s the trick.  This is why ChipHenge or TotHenge is important.

Are you ready?

Really?

I’m stubborn.  I hate soggy bottoms.  Especially on my food.

If you just toss frozen food on a cookie sheet (That’s where you cook your biscuits, Mate!) sometimes it crisps, other times it just gets soggy.

Hate that.  What fun is a soggy french fry?  Crisps should be Crisp.  Chips should be chippy.  Baked Fish should not be a puddle of mess.

So I stand the stuff up on its side.

As time went on the frozen food stacking got more and more elaborate.  I finally realized that this was turning into an obsession.  Say it with me…

“Hi!  I’m Bill, and I’m A Frozen Food Stacker!  A Chiphenge Afficionado!”

“Hi, Bill!”

It also helps that my name is “Bill W”.  No really, not for affect.

The neat thing is that if you have a frozen food that is soggy and it is cooked in the air like that you get nice crispy chips, crunchy fish, and something else that sort of rhymes.

Up on end my food goes into nice neat rows just like Center City Philadelphia.  The Liberty One and Two towers modeled in Cod.  The rows of row houses in South Philly in Tater Tots.

All this so I don’t have to heat up a fryer.

Or so I tell myself.

That sound?  Yeah, that’s my lunch.  If you’ll excuse me, I have to tear down my model of Manhattan for the noon meal.  I’m hungry, but you had to expect that.

Want some?

Three Ingredient Cake Recipe that actually tastes moist

This really shouldn’t be called a recipe.  It should be called a Hack.

It is so ridiculously easy to make that I laugh at it.

 

It is so popular that the recipe is just about everywhere including on the sites for the companies that make the mixes.

 

 

I tried it with a bulk white cake mix, but the recipe I keep seeing everywhere calls for a “Box Of Cake Mix”.  They are not specifying flavor.   Use your favorite.

The cake mix can’t be one of those “Just Add Water”.

You need a cake mix that wants you to add an egg.

I used White,  but a Yellow Cake mix would be fine.  Choose a flavor that is complementary to the Pie filling you are adding.

I wanted Cherry this time, but I have done it before with other flavors.  I have blueberry and lemon pie filling waiting in the wings for when I want to do it again.

 

 

Why do I have six cupcakes?  I have a small Bundt pan and I didn’t want to risk a mess.

The recipe calls for either two layers, or a Bundt Pan.  It was not very specific.  I would say two 9 inch layers or even perhaps 3 8 inches, but I suspect that may be a bit thin.

Butter and flour your pans.

Bake at 350F / 180C for 35 minutes (or whatever metric equivalent you need to have your toothpick come out clean).

I mean that really is it.  It is laughably simple.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box or 15 ounces of cake mix
  • 1 can of pie filling – 20 ounces or 590 ML
  • 3 large eggs

Process:

  • Butter and flour your pan.
  • Keep cupcake liner and pans aside for any extra cake batter.
  • Preheat oven to 350F or 180C.
  • To a large mixing bowl add 1 box/15 ounces cake mix, 1 can (20 ounces) of pie filling, and 3 eggs.
  • Mix the batter until smooth.
  • Add batter to pans taking care not to overfill.
  • Bake for approximately 35 minutes and test with a toothpick.
  • Make sure toothpick comes out clean

 

Optional:
Icing or not.  I have been putting Honey on top and I really do like that instead.

Personal preference!

Serve and enjoy

How Does The Leaked KFC Fried Chicken Recipe Bake?

Ok, a little history here.

There’s that famous recipe.  The one with eleven herbs and spices.  The one we all had at one time or another in Western Fast Food.  It’s pretty good.  I have had it before, and I’ll probably have it again.

There are a lot of attempts to duplicate it or at least come close.  Many professional chefs have tried, with varying results.  I’ll allow you to search for your favorite.

At one point the Chicago Tribune newspaper published an article saying that the recipe they had was The Original KFC recipe.  They weren’t sure completely, but it made for a good story.  More correctly, it is alleged by a family member that this is the recipe that Harland Sanders used to make his chicken.

Do go read that link at the Chicago Tribune.  The writer told a wonderful story and the Trib definitely deserves the read and my own thanks.

I had to try it.  Or rather, I had to try that printed recipe “My Way”.  And THAT is why I say “Alleged” above.  You see, when I made this, it turned out great.  But it had too much pepper in it.  Black pepper specifically, so when I make it next time, I will tweak it for my tastes.

Otherwise I really did like the chicken that I got.  So much that I will be eating some today for lunch in a big bowl with rice.

Yum.

If you like KFC chicken, either go to a proper KFC and get it there, or go through the work of figuring this one out yourself.

While I have no personal information other than the article, and I can not say whether this is absolutely KFC’s original recipe, it tastes so much like my own memory of it that I’ll keep making it for myself.

 

Yes, it is good.

Yes, it is worth the time and effort.

Yes, I will do it again.

Is it truly KFC?  Dunno but it’s damn close!

How I did it:

There is a Buttermilk Marinade for 30 minutes that I of course skipped since there is no Buttermilk in the house.  You can substitute milk.  You can also skip it.  I would expect the Buttermilk to add a little moderation to the spices and tenderize the chicken due to the acid.

I pressed the chicken breasts by using a meat mallet, but obviously that isn’t necessary since the KFC restaurants are selling mostly chicken parts with bone in.  I used breasts because that was what I had here on hand.  Pressing De-boned chicken makes for a more uniform thickness and therefore a more “controlled” result when baked.

Breasts were dredged through a scrambled egg wash, then generously dipped in the flour and spice mixture.

 

 

This mixture will make enough for about five pounds or two and a quarter Kilos for my non US Audience.  Hello, folks from Sunny Florida!  I split the coating in half and it worked out great for my 40 ounces of chicken parts or 1.1 KG (or so).

I did not have Celery Salt on hand.  I substituted 1/2 the amount of ground Celery Seed.  There does seem to be quite a bit of salt in this recipe to begin with.

I baked the chicken parts on a cookie sheet at 450F 230C for 15 minutes and tested to make sure that it was cooked to an internal temperature of 165F or 75C.  Thicker pieces were returned to the oven until they reached 165F.

 

 

This picture below is a direct link to the Chicago Tribune graphic, but will be explained in case that link disappears.

What that well loved recipe says is to add to two cups of flour the list of 11 herbs and spices.  The “Ts” are Tablespoons.  It makes a bit more than 3 cups of coating.

The list of ingredients are:

2 cups flour plus

  1. 2/3 tablespoon salt
  2. 1/2 tablespoon thyme
  3. 1/2 tablespoon basil
  4. 1/3 tablespoon oregano
  5. 1 tablespoon celery salt
  6. 1 tablespoon black pepper
  7. 1 tablespoon dried mustard powder
  8. 4 tablespoons paprika
  9. 2 tablespoons garlic salt
  10. 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  11. 3 tablespoons white pepper

For the metric crowd:

a cup flour is 120g

a Tablespoon is 15ml

Since this is “cooking” instead of “baking” if you’re a wee bit off, you should be fine.  It isn’t like making bread or a souffle!

Nice thing is that since Recipes are never patented in the US, we can share and enjoy.

But I would say the nicest thing about making this recipe is that once you’re done, you will be craving for your nearest KFC restaurant.  Get the biscuits and gravy as a side.

Do they have a proper “red eye” sausage gravy there now?  I wonder….

My own final verdict is like I said before, I will do it again but I will cut back on the black pepper.

 

I did have a heavy hand in coating the chicken which is why there’s a strange powder on some of the pieces.  If you actually deep fry the chicken, that extra will cook and turn brown.   Baking is a bit less forgiving of my own mistakes when it comes to over-coating your chicken.

 

Now that I am sitting here, reading and re-reading my writing… well lunch is coming and I’m looking forward to more of this recipe chicken!

Maple Coated Nuts in the Crock Pot Recipe

I have a habit of talking to my friends about cooking.  I am not a cook, nor a baker, just an enthusiast.  I do it sometimes when I have made a new recipe that I particularly enjoyed, or one that challenged me and gave me a feeling of accomplishment.

I was in a conversation with a lady I knew when I lived Up North where the tundra thaws out from time to time, Philadelphia.  We segued into what to make for dinner and desserts.  I commented that I had made this recipe below that is nothing more than Maple Syrup coated salted nuts.  It was beyond simple, and I made it in the crock pot.

This will turn your house into one of my favorite memories of Summer at the Jersey Shore, going into Planters Peanuts, and the smell in there.  My house smelled of gently roasting salted nuts for the rest of the day.

She immediately got interested since she loves slightly salty sweets, and nuts.  If it is as easy as I say it was then she wants the recipe and a narrative so she could do it herself.

The thing is that the picture showing a piddling quarter of a container tells you just how good these were.  They were amazing!

So here you go:  Here is the Process:

  • Mix together the wet ingredients – Maple Syrup, Vanilla Extract, and Salt in a large mixing bowl.  A two quart mixing bowl works perfectly for that.
  • Fold in two cups of mixed nuts and mix the entire mass well until all are coated.
  • Prepare the crock pot out.  Coat the bottom of a large crock pot with coconut oil.  Wipe off the excess with a paper towel.
  • Add the nut mixture to the crock pot and smooth out to one layer of nuts.
  • Turn on the crock pot at high heat, and cover it.
  • Every 30 minutes, stir the nut mixture and level it back off.
  • After 1 hour 30 minutes, you should be done, however it is a judgment call as to whether the coating is “dry enough.  Mine was a little bit sticky but I would not say it was “wet”.
  • Spread out onto a sheet of parchment paper or similar, and allow to cool and dry.
  • I ate mine within a week but you could go longer.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces of Maple Syrup.  I used “real” but that fake pancake Pole Syrup or Honey SHOULD work.
  • 1 teaspoon of Salt – or to taste if you are watching your salt intake
  • 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups of unsalted mixed nutsyour preference, I used 1 1/4 cup Walnut halves, 3/4 Peanuts.
  • Coconut Oil to coat the crock pot

How To Ruin a Decent Cookie – Just Wait!

I am sure that I am not the only person who ruined a “Bulletproof” baking mix this way.

I am also sure that I do it from a slightly different angle than most since I have a long list of “quick and dirty” baking treats that I make on a whim.

But there are only so many treats you can have around the house.

You see, while I am baking scratch mixes, blending chocolate with fruit or nuts to make candy bars, or even going so far as to make pretzels, I forgot.

I forgot that I have a shelf.   We all have that shelf.  If you bake at all, you have a collection of boxed mixes.

 

You picked that mix up from the supermarket and thought Hmmm, That’s Tasty!

You drop that mix into the cart and then wander off paying for it on your way out.

I even have a habit of quickly scanning the bins at the back of the market where there are mixes that are close to their expiration date.  You know the ones.  They’re being discontinued or they weren’t all that popular.   They’ve got the badge of shame on them.  Big red sticker saying “Discount!  Half Off” or less.

Yeah, those.  I’m that guy.

I really do prefer home made cookies to what you can get at the mall or the store.  My chocolate chip cookies are asked for when I am invited to parties because how can you compete with freshly churned butter, toasted nuts, and scratch ingredients?

But that also means that I have to watch what I have on hand.

That Shelf is in clear view.  In fact when you step over the threshold into my house it is in clear view of the front door on top of a bread rack.

It’s a Logical Place.  That also means it is doomed.

Those “special” mixes are waiting for a “special” occasion.

When I went looking for something the other day, I believe it was the crock pot but it easily could have been treats for the dog or some tea for Iced Tea, I spotted them.

Then I noticed that there was actually dust on top of the box.

DUST!  On top of a mix of Lemon Squares!

That. Is. Not. Good.

I checked the expiration date and found it expired four years ago.  April 2012.

Going through that stack, I found that there were five other mixes that were more than just a few weeks over their Best By date.

Not good.

That Lemon Square mix was a simple one, add egg and water.   It smelled funny.  Tasted worse.  I took one bite and out it went.

Next the Snickerdoodles.  They were January 2013.  Open the package and the mix smelled reasonably wholesome.  Of course there was that problem of how do you know how long to cook something that looks “done” when they go into the oven and come out soft?

 

I didn’t.  They ended up crunchy.  They’re supposed to be soft.  Still tasted “ok” and nobody got sick.

I followed that up with some Whoopie Pies.  When I opened up the mix my eyes watered.  Right into the bin!

So at this point the oldest mix is from June 2015, a full 11 months overdue.  It will get used before the end of this month.  I’m just going to have to stop “Baking for the Blog”!

Boxed Baking Mixes.  Ugh.  So … blah!  Where’s the challenge in that?

I’ll tell you, the challenge is to use the stuff up before it goes funny and I had a whole shelf of mixes just laughing at me!

This week, we’re going to enjoy a cake.  It’s a “Holiday” cake.  Peppermint and Chocolate, great for your holiday celebrations!  It was just within the “safe” zone.

I’m sure I will enjoy it.  But those mixes?  I have to be more careful since I do enjoy them, I really do.

I’m just a bit absent minded!