Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Honeycomb Brittle: A Quick Hostess Gift

So here's the situation. It was 11:00 in the morning on a Saturday. I was still in my pajamas. The boys  (including Zach) were still in their pajamas. We had virtually no food in the house and I was contemplating a lunch of Goldfish and scrambled eggs.

And then. A friend (or, more accurately, a potential friend) that I had been trying to become closer to over the past few months, texted me, inviting our whole family over to their house for dinner. Before I could even think it through, I said yes. I was so excited about the chance to get out of the house and hopefully get to make some new friends. Exciting!

But here is what stood between me and dinner.
  • Getting myself showered and dressed.
  • Getting the boys bathed and dressed.
  • Naptime.
  • Coming up with some kind of last-minute hostess gift.
Now, I know 6 hours seems like plenty of time to accomplish all of the above. But trust me- getting two boys both down for their naps and cleaned and dressed for dinner is easily an afternoon's work. So I knew I had to come up with a quick hostess gift that I could finish, soup-to-nuts, during naptime.

Did I mention that there was no real food in the house?

All my go-to's were off the table. We didn't have any bottles of wine. We had run out of our homemade jam. I didn't have any cookie dough in the freezer. So I turned to Nancy Silverton and whipped up a batch of honeycomb brittle.

You guys. This recipe only has 5 ingredients. Four if you don't count the water (yep, that's right. One of the ingredients is water. I told you it was easy). And you don't even have to dip it in chocolate, which means the only things you really need are sugar, corn syrup and baking soda. 

The result is this immensely and deliciously crunchy and airy brittle. It's gorgeous. And if you've never made candy before, worry not- this is totally doable.
And it's even prettier draped in dark chocolate.
As we were rushing out the door, I was wrangling Ames and trying to come up with some pretty packaging. I didn't have any cellophane bags or pretty boxes, so into a jelly jar it went. Topped off with a red ribbon and a tag written by Tate (a perfect distraction while I chased a naked, post-bath Ames around the house), and I think it was a total success.

P.S. Oh. You wanted the recipe too? Here you go.

1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon baking soda, sifted
dark chocolate

In a deep, heavy-duty medium-sized saucepan, stir togetehr the water, sugar and corn syrup. If you have a candy thermometer, great! Use it by clipping it to the side of the pan. If not, no fear. Go by color. 

Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil without stirring. Using a pastry-brush dipped in water, brush down the sides of the pan to dissolve any sugar granules. Continue cooking until the sugar reached 300 degrees or turns a pale straw color. Remove from the heat.

Working quickly, add the baking soda and whisk thoroughly for a few seconds. The liquid will bubble up and become foamy. In one movement, pour out onto a baking sheet. Iy will spread out, puff up a little, and get a slightly shiny, porous surface. 

Allow to harden and cool completely, without touching (be patient! touching messes it up). Using the point of a knife, break it into chunks.

Then dip in chocolate and take to your new friends. Trust me- they'll invite you back.

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