Category Archives: sugar

Book Club Pt 4- Spicy Peanut Brittle

There were two desserts during Book Club- this being the second one.  Since I wanted to something which I could make ahead- peanut brittle seemed perfect!  I made it the night before, and it was fresh and tasty as if I had made it right before everyone came over. It is a little tricky since you have to heat up the sugar, and then quickly form it. It was the first time I’ve heated sugar like this, so I was surprised how quickly it turns hard! Cooking is definitely chemistry. 

I came across this spicy peanut brittle by accident.  I was intrigued, and that’s how it made it on the menu.  It definitely has a specific flavor- when you take the first bite, it feels like the back of your throat is warming up.  Weird, but cool, sensation nonetheless.  Worth a shot if you want a small sweet snack (I can’t eat too much of this at one time).  Whatever was left over I had brought to work to nibble on around 3pm…the time I get sleepy.     =)

Spicy Peanut Brittle
Adapted from:Eat Make Read Blog

1 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup roasted peanuts
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
parchment paper

If you don’t have roasted peanuts, roast them for about 10 minutes in the oven, set for 300 degrees.  Let them cool before proceeding.

In a food processor, chop the peanuts.  Some will be more ground, while others will still be in tact.  Add them to a large bowl, then add the cayenne and stir.

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, add sugar.  Watch closely as the sugar will begin to melt quickly.  Stir it often as it changes into a liquid for about 10 minutes.  When the mixture is completely melted, quickly pour over the peanuts.  Then pour onto parchment paper, and spread.  You can put another pieces of parchment paper on top, and then using a rolling pin roll it into shape.  You will have to be fast, once the sugar cools, it hardens, and it’s difficult to form it into shape.

Let cool for at least 30 minutes, then using a knife cut the brittle in various sized pieces.  Most of them should be around 1-inch or so.  They will still be delicious after a couple of days- feel free to make ahead.

Book Club Pt 1- Coconut Macaroons with Chocolate

I know, it’s 2 dessert posts in a row!  This last week, Book Club was here, and this was one of the desserts which I had made.  This was a great dessert that was extremely easy to make, and it holds well over a couple of days.  I actually made it over the course of 3 days, but that’s what made it very convenient.  I did each major step per day, since I was running out of time each night.

Coconut and chocolate are such a great combination!  Fortunately, I had a lot of coconut in our pantry, and there is always chocolate there.  If you use milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate, it’ll be a little sweeter- but that’s easy to change for everyone’s taste preference.

Coconut Macaroons with Chocolate
Adapted from: 17 and Baking Blog

3 cups shredded coconut
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup egg whites (about 5)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
4 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped

In a large saucepan, combine coconut, sugar and egg whites.  Stir over medium heat for about 10 minutes.  The mixture should be creamy, and almost sticky.  Add the vanilla and almond extracts.  Then spread the coconut mixture in a thin layer on a cookie sheet.  Refrigerate until cold for at least 30 minutes (I did this step overnight).

Preheat the over to 300 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Form the coconut mixture into small cookies (I did little balls).  Bake until golden, so for about 30 minutes.  Let them cool.

In a small saucepan heat water until it boils, place a bowl on top (do not let the bowl touch the water), and add the chocolate pieces into the bowl.  Keep stirring until the chocolate has melted.  Then, drip the chocolate over the macaroons (as much or as little as you’d like).  Let it set for about an hour.  You can store the macaroons in an airtight container for about 5 days.

St. Patrick’s Guinness Cupcakes

Happy St. Patty’s Day!  We didn’t have any green beer this year, instead we decided to cook a little bit of Irish food at home.  Sam made corned beef and cabbage in the crock pot, and I tried this dish for the first time.  I really enjoyed the saltiness of the meat, delicious!

For dessert, I made some cupcakes.  Since we already had Guinness on hand, I figured this would be a great time to try out a new recipe.  I wanted to add some green sprinkles on top, but we didn’t have any.  The cupcakes had a great chocolate flavor which the beer enhanced.  I didn’t make the frosting too sweet, and the cream cheese flavor still lingered just a bit- yummy!

Also, my first batch had 2 different sized forms, one had the big one’s, while the other had the mini-bites.  I highly recommend the mini bites, the others came out a little dense.

We decided that all cupcakes should have Guinness it them! 

St. Patrick’s Guinness Cupcakes
Adapted from: Bunky Cooks Blog

3/4 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 can of Guinness (14.9 oz)
1 stick of butter, melted
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
3/4 cups sour cream
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups confectioners sugar (more can be used)

In a medium bowl beat the cream cheese on medium speed with a hand mixer, until it’s lightly fluffy.  Slowly, beat in the heavy whipping cream.  Then on low speed, slowly mix in confectioners sugar, until it is smooth and incorporated.  Cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat the over to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, baking soda and salt.  In a stand mixer, combine the Guinness, butter and vanilla.  Then, one at a time, beat in the eggs.  Finally, mix in the sour cream, until the mixture is smooth.  Slowly, mix in the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.

Lightly grease muffin tins.  Divide the batter between the muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until they are soft and tender.  Take them out of the oven, and cool them.  Finally, top each cupcake with some of the frosting!