Around this time of year my mind turns to the art of making delectable homemade Christmas treats and gifts! Wrapped up in pretty packages and bows, they are a wonderful way to share the joys of the Christmas season.
I start in late November, so that by the time the week before Christmas rolls around I have a beautiful assortment ready to give to my friends. You'll find that most things can be quite easily frozen in airtight containers.
This helps to spread the expense and the work throughout the month, and helps to keep me in a Christmassy mood the whole month through.
I just love this exercise. I think it goes back to the times when I had a large and growing family. I always baked tons and tons for our Christmas holidays . . . with the size of our extended family and all of our friends, doing so just made sense.
I've never had anyone turn down a gift of a delicious homemade treat yet!
This tasty nut brittle makes the perfect gift. Not only is it quick to do, but it's also very easy. I do not recommend doubling the recipe. I always make it in single batches. It's so easy and quick though, that's not a problem really.
Buttery, crunchy and absolutely filled to the hilt with lovely buttery salty cashew nuts. This is everyone's favourite! The only problem you will have with this is to keep from eating it all yourself! Seriously!
*Cashew Nut Brittle*
Makes about 1 pound
Sweet, crunchy and buttery . . . and just stogged to the hilt with salty cashew nuts!! Quick and easy in the microwave!
7 ounces of caster sugar (1 cup)
4 fluid ounces of golden syrup (1/2 cup, can use light corn syrup)
8 ounces of whole salted cashews (2 cups)
(crush them a bit with your hands so that some are whole and some
1 tsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Butter a large shallow baking tin and set aside.
Place the sugar and golden syrup into a deep 2 litre glass casserole dish. Stir together with a fork. Place in the microwave, uncovered. cook on high for 4 minutes. Remove from the microwave and stir in the cashew nuts. Return to the microwave and cook on high for 3 to 5 minutes. The time depends on the strength of your microwave. The nuts should only be light brown. Remove from the microwave and stir in the butter and vanilla. Return once again to the microwave and cook on high for 1 to 2 minutes longer, again this timing depends on the strength of your microwave. Remove from the microwave and carefully stir in the soda, mixing it in well. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading it out thin with a fork. Allow to cool and harden for about 60 minutes before breaking into pieces. Store in an airtight container.
NOTE - DO TAKE CARE WHEN HANDLING HOT SUGAR MIXTURES!!! They are very hot and you can get a really nasty burn!
This recipe can be easily varied by using different nuts, or a mixture of nuts, adding coconut, etc.