Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sweet Crunch: Càsh ew

As a younger girl I loved playing basketball, particularly on Coach Hanna's All Star Team. Starting in grade school Coach Hanna went around to all the local grade schools in the district and elicited the best girls to compete on a club team, and coached us through junior high. In fact, our team claims the club basketball championship victory of 1995!

I sort of had an innocent crush on Coach Hanna; the type of crush you don't really know what it is, just that you know you admire someone and you want to please them because they've assisted in your discovery of finding something that you love. And for basketball I can attribute that to Coach Hanna. One Valentines Day I wanted to express how appreciative I was of him, so I took him some scratch made cookies... with a balloon. Being Valentine's Day, the only balloons they had were love note balloons, and for this I blame my mother. She thought it would be harmless to give Coach an "I love you" balloon. For the record: it wasn't harmless and I lived that decision down everyday until the day I graduated HS, and sometimes even still.

Coach Hanna taught us to be very passionate about the game. This was easy for me, I was very passionate about everything. I'm dubbed in my family the: too sensitive one. On the same note, Coach Hanna wasn't always the best example of how to curb that passion. I rarely remember a game that he wasn't ejected from for getting two too many technical fouls. In a few games I also found myself the recipient of a technical foul or two, accompanied by a broken tooth or two. Upon repair of those teeth I was warned by my dentist not to eat toffee or brittle with my front teeth.

I offer the same warning to you: Don't eat this brittle with frail front teeth, use those molars and incisors.

Brittle: Cashew
Tasty: Indeed

Stir and bring to a boil over medium heat:
2 cups sugar
1 cup Karo syrup
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt

Allow to reach a temperature of 310°, or hard crack stage and then add cashews, 2 cups give or take. Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, and remove from heat.

2 tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla
3 teaspoons of baking soda
1 teaspoon of cream of tartar

Using a heavy wooden spoon stir until thoroughly mixed and candy stops foaming.

When I made this last, I decided it would be a fantastic idea to pour out my candy onto a buttered marble slab, as I would do with candy fondant or sometimes caramel (though not necessary with caramel), when typically I would butter a cookie sheet and instead pour onto that. The marble is flat and unmalleable and acts as a suction cup when the candy is poured onto it. Much better to use a candy sheet, trust me.

Pour the brittle onto a buttered candy sheet and spread it out. When cool, use the edge of a counter to release the brittle and break into chunks.

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